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Connecting personality traits to social networking site addiction: the mediating role of motives

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The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether four motives – conformity, enhancement, social and coping – mediate relationships between four personality types – agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness to experience – and social networking site (SNS) addiction. Impulse control is included as a moderator.


The paper uses a survey to collect data at two points in time from 304 SNS users. Structural equation modeling was used for data analysis.


Empirical results show that conformity, enhancement and coping motives act as mediators between various personality types and SNS addiction. Furthermore, impulse control weakens the effects of two motives – enhancement and social – on SNS addiction.

Research limitations/implications

The research model included only four motives. Future research could investigate other motivational mechanisms and moderators. The research method surveyed university students in the USA; thus, results may not generalize to a different user population. The method also included only one SNS, Facebook.


The paper contributes to the literature by showing that motives of SNS use connect personality to SNS addiction. This study also shows that self-reflective factors like impulse control can reduce the positive effects of motives on SNS addiction.
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Keywords: Behavioural addiction; Big five personality; Motives; Social networking site addiction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Computer Information Systems, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA 2: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

Publication date: August 23, 2019

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