Problematic internet use: exploring the roles of attachment and social competency
Debernardi, Nicholas Ruben
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Research on Problematic Internet Use (PIU) continues to document harmful effects of Internet use among the college population, yet few theoretical explanations have been offered as a platform to conceptualize the prevalence and development of PIU. Using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analyses, this study examined a mediation model that links adult attachment, social competency, and PIU. The proposed model was grounded in attachment theory and investigated both the direct and indirect effects of attachment on PIU as well as the mediating effects of social competency constructs between adult attachment and PIU. A total of 277 undergraduate students were recruited from a medium sized, urban university to complete surveys for this study. Findings indicated that a fully mediated model provided the greatest model fitness with trust mediating the relationship between attachment avoidance and PIU, and social self-efficacy mediating the relationship between attachment anxiety and PIU. Furthermore, a moderating effect of trust on attachment avoidance and PIU was detected in the partially mediated model and confirmed in post-hoc analyses. The overall findings of the study suggest that characteristics of highly avoidantly attached and anxiously attached people lead to higher levels of PIU, such that distrusting avoidantly attached individuals and low levels of social selfefficacy among the anxiously attached play important roles in the development of PIU. Limitations and clinical implications based on attachment theory and PIU are discussed.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix A. Demographics form -- Appendix B. Instrument