Probing the Coping Processes Between Social Media (WhatsApp) Addiction and Mental Health During Social Distancing

Adil S. Al-Busaidi, Victoria Dauletova, Jean Claude Kwitonda


This study examines the coping processes between social media addiction and mental health among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the problematic Internet use framework, structural equation modeling (SEM) results support the hypothesized positive associations between social media addiction and psychological distress outcomes. However, latent interaction analysis shows that not all individuals are impacted similarly because the intensity and significance of the mentioned associations changed as a function of computer-medicated communication (CMC) competence. In some cases, communication effectiveness attenuated the relationship between social media addiction and social anxiety symptoms. Together, the findings from this study and previous research support calls for CMC skills training, advocacy, and social support campaigns, particularly for and among subgroups of college students with social and relational skills deficits that put them at a greater risk of mental health prognosis.


depression, social media addiction, communication competence, social capital, COVID-19

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