Lonely online: A social model of digital media addiction: A study in 21 countries

Agata Blachnio, Aneta Przepiórka, Oleg Gorbaniuk, Monika McNeill, Rebecca Bendayan, Menachem Ben-Ezra, Alan Angeluci, Ana Maria Abreu, Maria J. Blanca, Tihana Brkljacic, Nenad Čuš Babić, Mithat Durak, Julia Gorbaniuk, Juraj Holdoš, Ana Ivanova, Meiko Makita, Sadia Malik, Elvis Mazzoni, Anita Milanovic, Bojan MusilIgor Pantic, Belen Rando, Gwendolyn Seidman, Emre Senol-Durak, Lancy D’Souza, Mariek M.P. Vanden Abeele, Mariusz Wołońciej, Anise M.S. Wu, Shu M. Yu, Martina Benvenuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Digital media addiction limits face-to-face communication, which can have negative effects on the subjective wellbeing of individuals. However, the effect of digital media addiction on subjective wellbeing has not been adequately explored, and it is recommended in the literature that the role of mediating variables related to social life should be investigated. These include loneliness and satisfaction with relationships. The current study investigated whether loneliness and satisfaction with relationships explained the link between people’s digital media addiction and their sense of flourishing. A sample of 6,434 respondents from 21 countries (Mage = 25.92 years, SD = 9.78; 65.5% women) took part in a cross-sectional survey study. The study included a comprehensive evaluation of digital media addiction using several measures. The following scales were applied: the Internet Addiction Scale, the Facebook Intrusion Questionnaire, the Phubbing Scale, the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale, the Relationship Assessment Scale, and the Flourishing Scale. A two-level path analysis showed that loneliness and satisfaction with interpersonal relationships fully mediated the link between digital media addiction and flourishing on the individual level. This suggests that digital media addiction may affect flourishing only through its impact on loneliness and satisfaction with interpersonal relationships.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Science Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Digital media addiction
  • Flourishing
  • Loneliness
  • Satisfaction with relationships


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