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Peer relationship and adolescents’ smartphone addiction: the mediating role of alienation and the moderating role of sex

Abstract

As more adolescents are developing a stronger dependence on their mobile devices, smartphone addiction has become a common concern among both the public and researchers. We aimed to examine whether alienation mediated the association between peer relationships and smartphone addiction in adolescents and whether this mediating process was moderated by sex. Our study included 555 adolescent participants (261 boys and 294 girls). The results indicated that peer relationships were negatively associated with smartphone addiction and that alienation mediated this relationship. Furthermore, sex moderated both the direct and indirect associations between peer relationships and smartphone addiction in adolescents. Specifically, in the second stage of the mediation process, the association between alienation and smartphone addiction became nonsignificant for boys, and the direct association between peer relationships and smartphone addiction became nonsignificant for girls. These findings illustrate that peer relationships are a protective factor for adolescent smartphone addiction and that this dynamic has significant sex differences.

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The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

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Acknowledgements

The present study was supported by the Philosophy and Social Sciences Planning Project of Shanxi Province in 2020(2020YJ146), the key project of Philosophy and Social Science Research in Shanxi Province (SSKLZDKT2018115), and Education and Science Programming Projects in Shanxi Province (GH-18048).

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Correspondence to Suo Jiang.

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Conflict of interest

Jing Liu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Wei Wang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Yongli Liu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Pengcheng Wang declares that she has no conflict of interest. Zhaoming Guo declares that she has no conflict of interest. Defan Hong declares that she has no conflict of interest.Suo Jiang declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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All of the 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.

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

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Wang, W., Liu, J., Liu, Y. et al. Peer relationship and adolescents’ smartphone addiction: the mediating role of alienation and the moderating role of sex. Curr Psychol (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-022-03309-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-022-03309-2

Keywords

  • Peer relationships
  • Smartphone addiction
  • Alienation
  • Adolescents