Mobile social media use and self-identity among Chinese adolescents: The mediating effect of friendship quality and the moderating role of gender

  • Wei Wang
  • Guoying Qian
  • Xingchao Wang
  • Li Lei
  • Qian Hu
  • Jing Chen
  • Suo JiangEmail author


Mobile Internet and social media have greatly changed the way that adolescents communicate. The current study investigated the effect of mobile social media use on adolescents’ self-identity, and explored the mediating role of friendship quality and the moderating role of gender. A total of 473 Chinese adolescents participated in the investigation. Results indicated that mobile social media used was positively correlated with adolescents’ self-identity and friendship quality. Moreover, friendship quality mediated the relationship between mobile social media use and adolescents’ self-identity. That is, adolescents’ mobile social media use was associated with a higher quality of friendship, which, in turn, contributed to their formation of self-identity. In addition, gender moderated the relation between mobile social media use and friendship quality, such that this relation was stronger for males than for females.


Mobile social media use Self-identity Friendship quality Adolescents 



This study was funded by 2016 key youth project of humanities and social science projects of higher education in Zhejiang Province(2016QN018); the Key Project of Social Science Fund of Zhejiang Provincial (18NDJC022Z); the Philosophy and Social Sciences Planning Project of Shanxi Province in 2018(2018B130); the Key Project of Social Science Fund of Beijing, China (15SHA005); Shanxi Provincial “1331 Project” Key Discipline Construction Plan 2017 Annual General Key Discipline Construction Project (Study on the Construction of Regional Characteristic Educational Resources in the Internet+ Background); 2019 research project on philosophy and social science of higher education in Shanxi Province (psychological health of phubbing group of primary and secondary school teachers and its influence on teacher-student relationship). We appreciate the constructive comments provided by Mingzhu Wang and all reviewers.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Wang
    • 1
  • Guoying Qian
    • 2
  • Xingchao Wang
    • 3
  • Li Lei
    • 4
  • Qian Hu
    • 5
  • Jing Chen
    • 6
  • Suo Jiang
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyShanxi Datong UniversityDatongChina
  2. 2.College of Preschool EducationCapital Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Educational ScienceShanxi UniversityTaiyuanChina
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  5. 5.College of Foreign LanguagesWenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina
  6. 6.Development Planning DepartmentWenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina
  7. 7.Department of Applied Psychology in College of PsychiatryWenzhou Medical UniversityWenzhouChina

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