Charging or Draining your Batteries – The Relationship between Motives for Social Media Use, Psychological Detachment and Problematic Smartphone Use

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Concerns about social media and its relationship to well-being are ubiquitous - potential benefits, on the other hand, have received far less attention in the literature. One relatively underexplored predictor that may help explain both are specific motives for use. Five motives were explored– Entertainment, Social Connection, Pass-time, Escapism, and Information seeking. In terms of potential benefits, the study investigated to what degree different motives predict psychological detachment from work through using social media. As a second outcome, it was explored whether the frequency of using social media with said motives also uniquely predicts problematic smartphone use (PSU). Additionally, the impact of several use characteristics was examined. A cross-sectional survey of 68 social media users was conducted to test the associations. It was found that frequent use of social media for entertainment and information-seeking predicted higher degrees of reported detachment from work, while other motives had no significant effect. PSU was associated with the escapism and social connection motive. Upon the use characteristics, only absent-minded use predicted an increase in PSU, while daily social media use time and active use had no statistically significant effect on both results. The findings underscore the importance of taking a nuanced perspective when studying social media and psychological well-being, highlighting social media's potential as a stress recovery tool. Theoretical relevance for future research and practical implications for digital well-being interventions are discussed.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen