A Qualitative Exploration of Facebook Addiction: Working toward Construct Validity

Tracii Ann Ryan, Andrea Chester, John Reece, Sophia Xenox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Empirical research has emerged that supports the existence of Facebook addiction. However, most studies have methodological limitations. In particular, the assessment of Facebook addiction is often varied and unjustified, which compromises construct validity. The purpose of the current study is to perform a qualitative exploration of Facebook addiction using seven core symptoms of Internet addiction (negative consequences, loss of control, online social enhancement, preoccupation, mood alteration, withdrawal, and excessive use) as a foundation. Participants were 417 self-identified excessive Facebook users (131 male, 286 female) aged between 18 and 80 (X = 31.57, SD = 9.33). All participants were recruited from Facebook and online discussion boards. Data were collected using open-ended online survey questions. Thematic analysis of the responses has provided preliminary support for the existence of seven core symptoms of Internet addiction among excessive Facebook users. This study is among the first to conduct an in-depth qualitative exploration of Facebook addiction using a sample of Facebook users. The findings have helped move Facebook addiction research closer towards construct validity, which will allow for more focused research in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-76
Number of pages22
JournalAddicta: The Turkish Journal on Addictions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016


  • Internet
  • Behavioural addiction
  • Social networking sites
  • Social media
  • Facebook

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