Study on Influence of Internal Working Models and Gender Differences on Addiction of Social Network Sites in Japanese University Students


In recent decades, social network sites (SNSs) have become more popular and SNSs addiction has become a serious social problem. However, few studies have examined the effect of a person’s internal working model (IWM) on addiction, which determine how attachment processes operate throughout the life course. This study aims at investigating the influence of IWMs and the psychological state, particularly loneliness and interpersonal trust, and of gender differences on addiction of SNSs in Japanese university students. Participants were 284 undergraduates in Japan (130 males, 154 females) who were evaluated with an original questionnaire about SNSs addiction, the UCLA Loneliness Scale, Interpersonal Trust Scale, and Internal Working Model Scale. We conducted multiple regression analyses by setting the entry method, one of which was forced entry, to examine the relationship between the dependent variable (SNSs addiction) and the independent variables (other factors) in each gender. The results show that SNSs addiction is influenced by an ambivalent attachment style (males, β = .19; females β = .36) and utilization time (males, β = .32; females β = .32) in both genders. To compare gender differences, we examined the structural equation modeling. The results show that only the influence of an ambivalent attachment style is significantly different between males and females (z = 5.04, p < .01), suggesting that such an attachment style predicts SNSs addiction. Because females tend to use SNSs as interaction tools, those with a high ambivalent style may become preoccupied with peer group membership. To prevent SNSs addiction, it is important that children form stable attachment relationships with parents/ caregivers when young. Regarding clinical implications, if counseling or psychotherapy is employed for people with SNSs addiction, it is important to assess the attachment style, and that therapy work toward changing an ambivalent style to a stable one.

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Fujimori, A. , Yamazaki, T. , Sato, M. , Hayashi, H. , Fujiwara, Y. and Matsusaka, T. (2015) Study on Influence of Internal Working Models and Gender Differences on Addiction of Social Network Sites in Japanese University Students. Psychology, 6, 1832-1840. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.614179.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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