TECHNOLOGY AND ADDICTION (M GRIFFITHS, SECTION EDITOR)
Online Social Network Site Addiction: A Comprehensive Review
Cecilie Schou Andreassen
Published online: 11 April 2015
#Springer International Publishing AG 2015
Abstract Research into online social network site (SNS) ad-
diction (i.e., excessive and compulsive online social network-
ing) has expanded over the last years. This paper aims to give
a review of this research. Although not formally recognized as
a diagnosis, SNS addiction shares many similarities with those
of other addictions, including tolerance, withdrawal, conflict,
salience, relapse, and mood modification. Several screening
instruments to identify SNS addicts have been developed—
approaching the phenomenon in various ways, disclosing a
conceptual and empirical obscurity in this field. Theoretical
and empirical models suggest that SNS addiction is molded by
several factors; including dispositional, sociocultural, and be-
havioral reinforcement. Also, empirical findings generally un-
veil that SNS addiction is related to impaired health and well-
being. There has been little, if any, empirical testing of pre-
vention or treatment for this behavioral addiction, although
certain self-help strategies, therapies, and interventions have
Keywords Addiction .Assessment .Facebook .Overview .
Online social networking .Treatment
Online social network sites (SNSs) (Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, etc.) are familiar to most people, as more than
one billion of us use one or more of these on a regular basis
[1•,2]. Online social networking is thus by far a normal mod-
ern behavior. Pathological forms of normal and necessary be-
haviors (e.g., exercising and shopping) have received in-
creased attention in recent decades [3•,4,5]asscholarshave
recognized striking similarities between chemical addictions
(drug dependence) and non-chemical persistently excessive
behaviors (pathological gambling) [4,6–10]. Chemical and
behavioral addictions have seven core symptoms in common:
salience, tolerance, mood modification, conflict, withdrawal,
problems, and relapse [4,11]. Excessive and compulsive on-
line social networking behavior has recently been suggested
as a behavioral addiction [12•,13••,14••], although it is not
formally recognized or embedded in current psychiatric no-
sology . This paper provides an overview of the recent
literature on SNS addiction and covers topics such as concep-
tualization, prevalence, assessment, antecedents, outcomes,
and potential interventions (see Fig. 1).
SNS Addiction Defined
Andreassen and Pallesen [12•] [p. 4054] define SNS addiction
as Bbeing overly concerned about SNSs, to be driven by a
strong motivation to log on to or use SNSs, and to devote so
much time and effort to SNSs that it impairs other social ac-
tivities, studies/job, interpersonal relationships, and/or psy-
chological health and well-being^. This definition reflects
the aforementioned addiction symptoms . They argue that
SNS addicts typically spend a lot of time thinking about SNSs
and on how they can free up more time for online social
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Technology and Addiction
*Cecilie Schou Andreassen
Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen,
Christiesgt. 12., 5015 Bergen, Norway
The Bergen Clinics Foundation, Vestre Torggate 11,
5015 Bergen, Norway
Curr Addict Rep (2015) 2:175–184
networking (salience). Often, they spend much more time so-
cial networking than was initially intended, feeling an urge to
social network more and more in order to attain the same level
of pleasure (tolerance). They use SNSs in order to reduce
feelings of guilt, anxiety, restlessness, helplessness, and de-
pression, in order to forget about personal problems (mood
modification). If prohibited from SNSs, addicts typically be-
come stressed, restless, troubled, or irritable, and feel bad if
they cannot engage in social networking (withdrawal). They
do not heed the advice of others to reduce time spent social
networking. Still, they have typically attempted to cut down
on social networking without success. When they decide to
use social networking less frequently, they do not manage to
do so (relapse). SNS addicts give a lower priority to hobbies,
studies/job, leisure activities, and exercise, and ignore their
partners, family members, or friends because of SNSs (con-
flict). SNS addicts often use SNSs so much that it negatively
influences their health, sleep quality, relationships, and well-
Some may argue that the concept of BSNS addiction^rep-
resents an unnecessary pathologization of a normal behavior
extremity. However, there seems to be empirical support for
the notion that certain individuals display SNS-related behav-
ior that is compulsive and uncontrolled, which best can be
understood in an addiction perspective [3•,12•,13••,14••,
16••]. Furthermore, a key distinction between normal over-
engagement in social networking (occasionally experienced
by many) and SNS addiction is that the latter, in contrast to
the former, is associated with unfavorable consequences,and
that social networking becomes uncontrolled and compulsive.
In short, overly engaged social networkers remain in control
. They appreciate other activities and lead multidimen-
sional lives. However, for SNS addicts, anything that inter-
feres with social networking is disfavored. Even though the
behavior results in unwanted consequences, such as insomnia
or relational conflicts, the SNS addict upholds the behavioral
pattern, in parallel to other addictive behaviors [11,12•,13••,
18]. Thus, SNS addiction is something qualitatively different
from excessive time spent on SNSs (as people can spend
many hours on these platforms for numerous reasons without
being addicted to it) or logging onto SNSs first thing in the
morning and last thing before going to sleep at night.
Epidemiology of SNS Addiction
Scholars argue that SNS addiction has risen, especially with
new technologies (laptops, smartphones) [12•]. However, ro-
bust statistics of the prevalence of SNS addiction is currently
hard to come by. Prevalence studies usually involve small and
non-representative student samples employing various screen-
ing methods and cut-off regimes [12•,14••,16••]—making it
difficult to compare results across studies. However, recent
review articles of the more empirically explored phenomenon
of Internet addiction, suggest that 2 % of U.S. adults are ad-
dicts . Facebook addiction studies report prevalence rates of
1.6 %  and 8.6 %  whereas 12 % has been reported to
be problematic users of SNSs , and 34 % toXiaonei
(a Chinese SNS). The low prevalence rate of 1.6 % was found
in a Nigerian sample, and may be explained by low level of
Internet accessibility in this sample. The high prevalence rate
of 34 % was found in a sample of 335 Chinese students (19–
Fig. 1 Thefiguregivesabrief
schematic overview of the SNS
addiction field in terms of
consequences, and interventions
for SNS addiction
176 Curr Addict Rep (2015) 2:175–184
28 years) using a modified version of Young’s Internet Addic-
tion Scale .
There is some evidence that SNS addiction is more preva-
lent in certain groups. Specifically, studies report higher esti-
mates among younger people [3•,13••,24], and in females
[13••], although some studies have found higher estimates
among older users  and in males . Other studies have
found SNS addiction to be unrelated to age [21,27] and gen-
der [21,24,27]. A newly published study of predictors of
private use of social media at work in a sample of 10,018
employees showed that such use is related to male sex, youn-
ger adults, single status, and higher education [1•]. However,
this study did not measure SNS addiction.
Overall, due to the poor quality of previous research on the
prevalence of SNS addiction in terms of sampling, study de-
sign, measurement, and cut-off score employed, it is prema-
ture to draw conclusions about prevalence and relevant risk
factor of SNS addiction.
Measurement of SNS Addiction
Several screening instruments of SNS addiction have ap-
peared in the literature. Researchers investigating SNS addic-
tion have first and foremost focused on Facebook addiction,
while some focus on other social networks, or SNSs in gener-
al. Table 1briefly presents relevant screening instruments.
Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (BFAS)
BFAS is a six-item questionnaire developed by Andreassen and
colleagues [13••]. Anchored in general addiction theory, BFAS
operationalizes Facebook addiction according to the following
addiction criteria: salience,mood modification,conflict,
withdrawal,tolerance,andrelapse. All items are worded in line
with diagnostic addiction criteria [15,28,29],andscoredona
five-point scale that ranges from very rarely to very often,asking
how often during the last year the symptoms have occurred. The
composite score ranges from 6 to 30, where the cut-score is set to
>3 on at least four of the six criteria (polythetic scoring). BWAS
was constructed and retested in a Norwegian sample of 423 stu-
dents. BFAS is a brief and has good psychometric properties [3•,
12•,13••]. A modified version of BFAS pertaining to SNSs in
general also exists (Bergen Social Networking Addiction Scale).
Facebook Dependence Questionnaire (FDQ)
FDQ is an eight-item questionnaire that measures Facebook
dependence . The item pool is based on an Internet addic-
tion scale , and measures control, satisfaction, time of use
and efforts to reduce it, worries, concern, and other activities
involved in Facebook. The response format is dichotomized
(yes/no), where the cut-score is endorsement of at least five
items. FDQ was constructed in a Peruvian sample of 418
students. Statistical methodology involved calculation of in-
ternal consistency (0.67).
Social Networking Website Addiction Scale (SNWAS)
SNWAS is a five-item questionnaire developed by Turel and
Serenko . The construction was based on Charlton and
Danforth’s video game engagement/addiction scales . All five
items are scored on a seven-point scale ranging from completely
disagree to completely agree. No cut-score is suggested, other
than that high score indicate SNS addiction. The scale was con-
and satisfactory psychometric properties were obtained.
Addictive Tendencies Scale (ATS)
ATS is a three-item questionnaire developed by Wilson and
colleagues . Anchored in general addiction theory and re-
search on excessive text messaging/instant messaging. ATS
operationalizes SNS addiction as being comprised of three core
addiction criteria: salience,loss of control,andwithdrawal.All
items are scored on a seven-point scale that ranges from strong-
ly disagree to strongly agree. Cut-off scores are not suggested.
The scale was constructed in an Australian sample of 201 stu-
dents. Measure of internal consistency was 0.76.
Table 1shows that the scale construction of existing mea-
sures mainly relies on previous research on Internet addiction/
problematic use [23,30,34], mobile phone addiction/
involvement [35,36], videogames addiction/engagement
, and/or Brown’s and Griffiths  behavioral addic-
tion components. Some are founded on specific addiction
criteria, while others measure only some aspects of addiction,
or mere habitual use, excessive use or addictive tendencies.
Sample and statistical methodology used in the initial
scale-construction studies entail common drawbacks such as
small non-representative cross-sectional study designs. Be-
cause of their recent developments, their psychometric prop-
erties have primarily been tested and reserved to these initial
studies so far. Also, very few scales come with suggested cut-
score for categorizing SNS addicts.
There has been controversy concerning assessing specific
network platforms, such as Facebook, as opposed to social
networking in general. For example, Griffiths  and his
colleagues [14••] argue for the need for validated scales that
measure Bsocial networking addiction^in general rather than
BFacebook addiction^since Facebook is only one social net-
work of many—and where a variety of activities unfold (gam-
ing, picture posting, chatting, status updating, etc.) [38,39].
Ryan et al. [16••], on the other hand, argue for the importance
of developing scales pertaining to specific SNSs such as
Facebook as there are possible differences between different
sites in terms of their addictive potential. Andreassen and
Curr Addict Rep (2015) 2:175–184 177
Pallesen [12•,40] have previously provided practical sugges-
tions on how to differentiate between specific and general
SNSs in terms of assessment.
Explanations of SNS Addiction
SNS addiction is likely to be fostered by an integration of
dispositional, sociocultural, and reinforcing behavioral factors
Neurobiological explanations and studies of SNS addiction
are currently lacking, although neurobiology is often ad-
dressed when explaining other behavioral and chemical addic-
tions . Addictive behaviors are often successfully treated
via pharmacotherapy that targets the brain’s reward system,
which underpins neurobiological explanations [42••,43].
Neuroimaging studies of Internet and gaming addicts support
these explanations even further [44••]. Thus, based on find-
ings from research conducted on other behavioral and sub-
stance addictions, it is possible that SNS addicts are biologi-
cally disposed to develop their excessive and compulsive so-
cial networking behavior.
The relationship between personality factors and SNS ad-
diction has been well established in prior research [3•,13••,32,
45]. Studies are often based on the five-factor model of person-
ality emphasizing the following main dimensions: neuroticism,
extroversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and con-
scientiousness . Moderate levels of these factors are thought
of as adaptable, and extreme versions as counterproductive [3•].
Neuroticism is manifested by the tendency to experience un-
pleasant emotions (anxiety, depression, fear). Research shows
that this trait is positively correlated with SNS addiction [3•,
13••]. Extroversion (outgoing, social) has also often been asso-
ciated with SNS addicts [3•,13••,32]. Conscientiousness is
marked by being self-disciplined and aiming for achievement,
consequently low scores has been linked to SNS addiction [3•,
13••,32]. In line with this, a recent survey in a large occupa-
tional sample found that extraversion and neuroticism were
positively and conscientiousness negatively related to private
SNS usage during working hours [1•]. Furthermore, impulsivity
and narcissism are other personality traits manifested by the
tendency to act on impulse and grandiose ego, respectively.
Both traits have been associated with SNS addiction [21,47].
Studies have also suggested a link between innate basic
psychological needs and SNS addiction [22,27,48,49]. Ac-
cording to self-determination theory, the universal needs for
autonomy, competence, and relatedness are the basis for all
human motivation . The need for competence refers to the
need for control and mastery (having the SNS profiles well in
hand). The need for autonomy refers to the need to be in
charge of and in harmony with one’s own life and self (having
options and making one’s own choices at SNSs without inter-
ference from parents or editors). The need for relatedness
refers to the need for interpersonal interaction, connectedness,
care, and to be cared for by others (huge friend-list). Research
Tabl e 1 List of existing SNS addiction measures, number of items, and background
Measure Items Based on
Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale [13••] 6 Brown’s behavioral addiction symptoms, Griffiths’
components model of addiction, and diagnostic addiction
Facebook Intrusion Questionnaire  8 Brown’s behavioral addiction components and the
Mobile Phone Involvement Questionnaire 
Facebook Dependence Questionnaire  8 Internet Addiction Questionnaire 
Addictive Tendencies Towards SNSs  20 Young’s Internet Addiction Test 
Social Networking Website Addiction Scale  5 Charlton and Danforth Online Gaming Addiction Scale
(short version) 
Addictive Tendencies Scale  3 Mobile Phone Addiction Scale 
Generalized Problematic Internet Use Scale 2  7 Generalized Problematic Internet Use Scale 
Facebook Addiction Scale  8 Young’s Internet Addiction Test  and the Problematic
Internet Use Scale 2 
Facebook Addiction Scale  20 Young’s Internet Addiction Test 
Facebook Addiction Scale 30Brown’s behavioral addiction components
Facebook Addiction Scale  12 Young’s Internet Addiction Test 
Facebook Addiction Scale 11Notreported
Facebook Addiction Symptoms Scale  15 Young’s Internet Addiction Scale 
Social Networking Dependency and Addiction Scale  31 Internet-Related Problem Scale  and Pathological
Internet Use Scale 
178 Curr Addict Rep (2015) 2:175–184
shows that SNS addiction is related to need of belongingness
, social contact , and feeling lonely  and reducing
loneliness [52,53]. Thus, if needs are distorted, action is taken
to feed the need into balance (eventually leading to compul-
sive SNS behavior).
Basic cognitions also seem to play a role in fostering SNS
addiction, including core beliefs, attributions, schemata, ex-
pectations, and automatic thoughts [12•]. Cognitions activate
behavior , and may therefore activate social networking
behavior. Thus, a negative self-concept (BI’m not good
enough^or BI lack social skills^)maytriggersocialnetwork-
ing behavior in cases where the person believes number of
Blikes^and Bfollowers^on a SNS equals success, and leads
to compulsive social networking. This theory is supported by
studies where SNS addiction is empirically linked to low self-
SNS addiction has also been explained from a sociocultural
perspective. For example, the SNS addict may be influenced
by certain family dynamics (e.g., parental pressure) or by ob-
serving obsessive social networking behavior of near or pe-
ripheral role models, such as parents, siblings, peers, or others
. In a macro perspective, our zeitgeist emphasizes social
online and offline skills, competence, competition, availabili-
ty, status, fame and fortune. These may act as important fac-
tors in the cultivation of SNS addiction—as they serve as
personal and cultural symbols of attractiveness (e.g., evolu-
tionary psychology). Cross-cultural studies would be an asset
in future research, in order to investigate these relationships
further . Use of SNS also fosters social comparison (e.g.,
number of friends) aswellasimpressionmanagement
(presenting a glorified façade on SNSs) [58,59] and are thus
sociocultural factors contributing to the addiction.
Behavioral Reinforcement Factors
SNS addiction may also be explained on the basis of learning
theories [12•]. If excessive social networking behavior has
been rewarded in the past, the behavioris likely to repeat itself
. Positive outcomes such as entertainment,popularity, and
attention and positive feedback from significant others may
thus foster the behavior. Likewise, if social networking behav-
ior has previously led to avoidance of negative consequences
(e.g., boredom, criticism, group exclusion), it is more likely to
occur again. Studies show that SNS addiction is related to
motives of passing time, entertainment, fear of missing out,
etc. [16••,49,61]. In addition to the principles of operant
conditioning,principlesofsocial learning and model learning
(see above), are also applicable in understanding the develop-
ment of the SNS addiction phenomenon in a behavioral
reinforcement perspective —but has yet to be empirically
Last but not least, structural attributes inherent in the social
networks themselves such as Blikes^button, instant feedback
and comments, in- and out-groups, picture posting, etc. most
likely reinforce the behavior even further [14••]. SNS users
seek feedback, and they get it from hundreds of people—in-
stantly. It could be argued that the platforms are designed to
get users Bhooked^.
Negative Consequences of SNS Addiction
In spite of any temporary and immediate gratifying effects
derived from social networking, long-term excessive and
compulsive social networking are seldom beneficial and is
by definition unhealthy [11,12•,14••]. Regarding outcome
research, identified correlates suggest that SNS addicts suffer
from emotional, relational, health related, and performance
SNS addiction may create significant emotional problems. As
with other addictions, the person often becomes addicted to
the behavior as a relief from negative feelings of discomfort
and stress (escape/control mechanism) [14••,52,62]. In short,
SNS addicts engage in social networking to gain control, but
become controlled by their social networks. SNS addicts may
also use social networking as a means by which to stay dis-
connected from their own feelings . Thus, SNS addicts are
unable to detach themselves from SNSs despite realizing their
destructive impact, and might experience anxiety if they stop
social networking. SNS addicts may describe a positive ener-
gy they obtain from social networking, sometimes mistaking it
for engagement because they associate it with feeling good.
However, they do not feel good about a hobby or a social
event—unless it involves online social networking . It is
in fact Breal life^that does not feel good. Recent studies re-
ported a link between SNS addiction and depression and anx-
iety [27,45], whereas others reported poor self-esteem and
Offline relations suffer  as SNS addicts become preoccu-
pied with and devote most of their time to social networking
[26,65]. Others stop expecting time from them, and they
become socially withdrawn, left with a troubled personal life.
The emotional discomfort related to lying or covering up ex-
cessive amounts of social networking can also drive SNS ad-
dicts to isolate themselves from their environments . In the
wake of this social networking behavior, the SNS addict may
Curr Addict Rep (2015) 2:175–184 179
further experience significant distress, anxiety, and symptoms
of depression , which again may negatively influence re-
lationships at home (family conflicts), at work/school (im-
paired concentration and collaboration), and socially (loss of
friends). In short, SNS addicts display extreme devotion to
social networking to the detriment of interpersonal relation-
ships [14••]. For example, one study found that excessive
online networking was positively related to relationship dis-
satisfaction through jealousy and surveillance behaviors from
the partner . Another study reported social dysfunction as
acorrelate and it has further been reported that Facebook
addiction scores correlated significantly with a range of po-
tential relational problems .
Excessive online social networking may induce sleep
difficulties [66,67]. As expected, there are studies that show
that SNS addicts report more sleep problems and poorer sleep
quality compared to non-SNS addicts [13••,20]. As Bmore is
better^for SNS addicts, they stay on social networking even
when it is not in their best interests, resulting in too little
exercise, rest, and recovery. Hence, studies have reported as-
sociations between SNS addiction and insomnia and somatic
symptoms [13••,27]. From sleep research we know that such
problems are related to psychological and physiological im-
pairment over time [68–70]. Overall, longitudinal studies will
be a great asset to explore if and how SNS addiction is related
to health-related symptoms in the long run.
As SNS addicts may spend more time and put more effort into
their online social networks, and forego other activities, one
would expect them to perform less in other domains. Obvi-
ously, these behaviors may influence their own and others’
work and academic performance negatively. A case study of
a SNS addict reported loss ofjob due to the social networking
behavior . In line with this, a recent study of 10,018 em-
ployees concluded that the use of social network sites for
personal purposes during working hours impairs self-
reported work performance . Recently, studies have also
closely examined the relationship between academic achieve-
ment and excessive SNS use and addiction. These studies
report lower grades and poorer performance due to such dig-
ital distractions [26,27,73]. Thus, although a firm conclusion
is premature, one can speculate that the SNS behavior nega-
tively influences efficiency and achievements. The aforemen-
tioned emotional, relational, and health-related problems
resulting from SNS addiction may also affect work and aca-
demic performance unfavorably. However, since use of the
Internet is more or less inseparable from the professional
and personal lives for most of us, interventions against SNS
addiction must focus on controlled use rather than total absti-
nence of online social networking behavior .
Therapeutic Interventions for SNS Addiction
Left untended, all addictions including SNS addiction have
unfortunate outfalls for most individuals. Still, well-
documented therapeutic interventions, if any, for this type of
addiction are difficult to come by. However, self-help strate-
gies, therapies, and preventions proven effective for other ad-
dictive behaviors may work well also when approaching SNS
Apps exist to help one cut down on time spent on social media
and to eliminate digital distractions. By downloading such
apps (ColdTurkey, SelfControl, Freedom)theSNSusercan
block the sites one like to avoid. It is also possible to install
settings on SNSs that give time-fixed updates (e.g., every
second hour). As people very often have excess to their social
network sites via their smartphones, they can turn it off or set it
on flight or silentmode when they do not wish to be disrupted.
Other practical self-help strategies may pinpoint criteria such
as not logging on to social network sites at work or school,
leaving the smartphone at work or home, scheduling adequate
breaks to visit social network sites, modifying thought pat-
terns while social networking, setting limits and reasonable
goals according to other obligations, and committing to offline
activities etc. Relaxation techniques to better handle emotional
discomfort may also come in handy (e.g., mindfulness) .
Several studies of the treatment of other behavioral addictions
have been based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy [12•].Cer-
tain Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy techniques have also been
recommended for treating Internet addiction [33,77]. The
approach involves exploring mental processes, and focuses
on how the addict perceives, remembers, thinks and speaks
of, and solves problems. Dysfunctional cognitions about so-
cial networking and the force that results from them are thus
zeroed in on and reconstructed. Hence, alternative thoughts
and strategies are established to cope with emotional discom-
fort, demands, and detachment. A diary of Internet use is
usually kept through therapy. Behavior management, for both
online and offline behavior may be used based on techniques
such as behavioral rehearsal, modeling, recovery, self-instruc-
tion, and acquiring new adaptive skills [12•].
Motivational Interviewing  is a well-documented and
effective treatment for behavioral addictions. It is Ba client-
centered, semi-directive method of engaging intrinsic
180 Curr Addict Rep (2015) 2:175–184
motivation to change behavior by developing discrepancy be-
tween current and wanted state and exploring and resolving
ambivalence within the client^ [p. 25]. The main goal is
to help the client discover the negative sides of the behavior,
and increase the internal motivation for change. For this pur-
pose, certain basic principles (developing discrepancy), com-
munication skills (reflections), and strategies (ambivalence
exploration) are used. Eliciting and addressing change-talk
(talk entailing reasons, needs, desires, and ability to change)
is another goal of Motivational Interviewing, as this is as-
sumed to facilitate the change process even more.
Some research has indicated that certain medications
(Bupropion, Escitalopram, Methylphenidate) are useful in
treating video game addiction and Internet addiction
[79–81]. A meta-analysis of 16 studies regarding Internet ad-
diction treatment reported no particular difference between
pharmacological and psychotherapeutic interventions [82•].
Only six of these effect studies were RCT-based (randomized
Employers typically fear financial loss due to employees’
cyberloafing . Teachers and parents typically fear that
children fall behind in their personal growth and development
. Implementation of interventions on organizational or
school levels has also been proposed by scholars, with a focus
on norms and policies that promote healthy rather than un-
healthy online social networking, as well as ensuring satisfac-
tion of employees’and students’basic needs by providing
positive and engaging challenges [1•,12•,72]. New research
of attitudes towards use and actual use of social network sites
for personal purposes at work were related to work-related
factors (fewer challenges and demands) among others [1•]. It
was also found that accessibility of and policies prohibiting
the personaluse of such sites at the workplace seemingly serve
As leaders, teachers, and parents serve as significant role
models, both online and offline, they should lead by example.
How they behave, along with the reward system they serve, is
of crucial importance for toning down or intensifying exces-
sive social networking among their employees, students, and
This paper offers a review of the SNS addiction field. Al-
though SNS addiction has become an issue of concern, espe-
cially for young people, the empirical database is relatively
sparse. Several self-report measures of SNS addiction (pre-
dominantly to Facebook) have been developed over the last
few years. Most of these need further validation, and there is
an ongoing specificity debate whether they assess addictions
to specific social networks sites or addictions to such sites in
general, or to specific behavior engaged in when interaction
with these sites (social interaction, gaming, picture posting,
etc.). SNS addiction is complex and is probably molded by
biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors. So far,
cross-sectional studies show that SNS addiction is related to
emotional, relational, health, and performance problems—
representing a banner of individual and societal health. Unfor-
tunately, there is little, if any, scientific research of methods
documenting therapeutic interventions for SNS addiction.
However, given the similarities with other behavioral and
chemical addictions, effective interventions for these condi-
tions may be adapted to the treatment of SNS addiction. Over-
all, this field is in great need of robust research including
psychometric, cross-cultural, longitudinal, and treatment stud-
ies using objective behavioral parameters in representative
Compliance with Ethics Guidelines
Conflict of Interest Cecilie Schou Andreassen declares no conflict of
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent This article does
not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any
of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been
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