Study links narcissism to Facebook addiction disorder

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Social media has taken over our lives, leading the way to new behavioral addictions. One prime example is Facebook addiction disorder (FAD), a relatively new condition not yet classified as a mental disorder.

In a new study, a group of researchers found that narcissism, a personality trait common with excessive social media use, may be linked to FAD. The findings were published in the journal PLOS One.

“The main aim of the present study was to investigate the epidemiology of FAD over the course of one year (two measurement time points) in a German sample,” according to the findings.

For this study, researchers analyzed 179 students from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany over a span of one year. All the participants received surveys to assess factors such as physical health, social support, anxiety, depression, narcissism, and media usage. They were also issued a test to measure online-based compulsive behavior. The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS), was created by Dr. Cecilie Andraessen of Norway.

When assessing narcissism in participants, researchers kept in mind the theory which suggests that FAD works as a mediator between narcissism and symptoms of stress.

“Our current results reveal that while the mean FAD level did not increase during the investigation period of one year, a significant increase was shown in the number of participants reaching the critical cutoff score and in the values of withdrawal, which belongs to one of the six core characteristics of FAD,” the study’s co-author told PsyPost.

The findings revealed that narcissism was significantly associated with FAD and those with such traits may be at a higher risk of exhibiting the condition.

“FAD fully mediated the significant positive relationship between narcissism and stress symptoms, which demonstrates that narcissistic people can be specifically at risk to develop FAD.”

Moreover, the findings also indicated that symptoms like depression and anxiety were also linked to FAD.

“Our present study is one of the first steps of this investigation. We are further working on this topic and would be glad to find other researchers, in Germany and other countries, who are interested in a cooperation to extend our research.”