Relationship Between Problematic Social Media Usage and Employee Depression: A Moderated Mediation Model of Mindfulness and Fear of COVID-19

Frontiers in Psychology 11 (2020)
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Abstract

Social media plays a significant role in modern life, but excessive use of it during the COVID-19 pandemic has become a source of concern. Supported by the conservation of resources theory, the current study extends the literature on problematic social media usage during COVID-19 by investigating its association with emotional and mental health outcomes. In a moderated mediation model, this study proposes that problematic social media use by workers during COVID-19 is linked to fear of COVID-19, which is further associated with depression. The current study tested trait mindfulness as an important personal resource that may be associated with reduced fear of COVID-19 despite problematic social media use. The study collected temporally separate data to avoid common method bias. Pakistani employees working in different organizations completed a series of survey questionnaires. The results supported the moderated mediation model, showing that problematic social media use during the current pandemic is linked to fear of COVID-19 and depression among employees. Furthermore, trait mindfulness was found to be an important buffer, reducing the negative indirect association between problematic social media use and depression through fear of COVID-19. These results offer implications for practitioners. The limitations of this study and future research directions are also discussed.

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