These personality traits can pose a risk for social media addiction

File photo of WhatsApp and Facebook messenger icons to be seen on an iPhone in Manchester, Britain, 27 March 2017. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)

Or scroll through Instagram or constantly refreshing your Facebook feed, social media can eat up hours of the day. But if you find it particularly difficult to stay away from social media, your personality may be partly to blame.

According to a new study, people with certain personality traits are more likely to develop a social media addiction.

“There is a lot of research on how the interaction of certain personality traits affect addiction to things like alcohol and drugs,” study co-author Isaac Vaghefi, an assistant professor of information systems at Binghamton University in the state of New York, said in a statement. But relatively few studies have looked at how personality traits can impact on tech addiction, including addiction to social media, the researchers said. [7 Signs Your Child Is an iPad Addict]

In the new study, the researchers surveyed about 300 students insight into their personality and gauge the level of their addiction to the social media website, each individual is the most used. (The questions for measuring social media addiction: “I sometimes neglect important things because of my interest in this social networking website”; “If I am not using this social networking website, I often feel excited,” and “I’ve failed attempts to reduce the time that I have with this social networking website.”)

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The study found that three personality traits in particular, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness — were related to social media addiction. Two other personality traits, extraversion and openness to experience, were not linked to social media addiction.

Specifically, the researchers found that people with high levels of neuroticism, or the tendency to experience negative emotions, such as stress and anxiety, were more likely to develop addiction to social media, compared to people who low levels of neuroticism.

In contrast, people with a high degree of conscientiousness, or the tendency to impulse control and a strong drive to achieve specific goals, were less likely to develop addiction to social media.

However, the researchers noted that even people with a high conscientiousness could be prone to social media addiction as they were also high on neuroticism. This may be because a high level of stress and anxiety can override a person’s perceived control over their use of social media, the researchers said.

In addition, the trait of agreeableness-or the degree to which a person is friendly, empathic and kind — by itself had no effect on social media addiction. But this was not true when the researchers looked at agreeableness in combination with conscientiousness.

They found that people with a low degree of agreeableness and conscientiousness were more likely to develop social media addiction than people with average levels of these personality traits. But surprisingly enough, people with a high level of both personality traits were also more likely to develop social network addiction, in comparison with people with the average level of the two properties.

It is possible that people who have high levels of both the kindness and conscientiousness make a conscious decision to use social networks more, to help them develop their friendships flourish, the researchers said.

It is important to note that, because the study involved a few hundred students at one university, more research is needed to confirm the findings of the researchers said. But they added that the findings may have implications for those who treat tech addictions.

“Our findings explain that users with higher levels of addictions is not to be considered as a homogeneous group of users, as well as other personality traits may play different roles in users’ rules in the direction of THE addiction, ” the researchers wrote in the paper, which was presented in January at the 51st Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science.

Vaghefi added that he hopes the findings will encourage people to look at the “whole picture” of how personality traits affect tech addiction’, instead of only focusing on one personality trait” at a time.

Original article on Live Science.

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