Social Network Addiction and Perceived Loneliness in Relation with Gender and Country among Adolescents in India and Afghanistan

Mohammad Basir Bakhtyari, Kamayani Mathur


Research has shown a potential association between Social Networking Sites (SNS) and mental health problems in adolescents. Excessive use of SNS may have a negative impact on adolescents’ emotional, social, and psychological development. This study examined the relationship between Social Networking Sites Addiction (SNSA) and perceived loneliness of adolescents. In this study, 700 adolescents from different schools, and colleges from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Ahmedabad, India, completed a battery of questionnaires. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and correlational analysis. The findings showed that participants from Afghanistan had higher levels of SNSA specifically in impulsivity and virtual freedom and reported more loneliness than participants from India. Girls from India and Afghanistan experienced a greater level of loneliness compared to their male participants. Male participants from Afghanistan had higher levels of SNSA than female participants; however, females from India reported a higher level of SNSA than male participants. The findings suggested that adolescents should be supported and made aware of the dangers of SNSA preferably through training, so that they can develop skills to minimize the risks. Therefore, this study can contribute to a better understanding of social network addiction and perceived loneliness from the perspective of adolescents in two Asian countries.


Keywords: social networking sites, addiction, adolescents, mental health.



Full Text:



AKGÜN KOSTAK, M., DINDAR, İ., & ZAFER DINÇKOL, R. (2019). Loneliness, depression, social support levels, and other factors involving the internet use of high school students in Turkey. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 17, 1521–1534.

AL SHAIBANI, M.H. (2020). Prevalence and Factors Associated with Social Networking Addiction among Saudi University Students. Psycho-Educational Research Reviews, 9(2), 87–99. Retrieved from

ANDREASSEN, C.S. (2015). Online Social Network Site Addiction: A Comprehensive Review. Current Addiction Reports, 2(2), 175–184.

APARICIO-MARTÍNEZ, P., RUIZ-RUBIO, M., PEREA-MORENO, A.-J., MARTÍNEZ-JIMÉNEZ, M.P., PAGLIARI, C., REDEL-MACÍAS, M.D., & VAQUERO-ABELLÁN, M. (2020). Gender differences in the addiction to social networks in the Southern Spanish university students. Telematics and Informatics, 46, 101304.

ARSLAN, G. (2021). School belongingness, well-being, and mental health among adolescents: Exploring the role of loneliness. Australian Journal of Psychology, 73(1), 70–80.

AZIZI, S.M., SOROUSH, A., & KHATONY, A. (2019). The relationship between social networking addiction and academic performance in Iranian students of medical sciences: A cross-sectional study. BMC Psychology, 7(1), 28.

BHARDWAJ, A., AVASTHI, V., & GOUNDAR, S. (2017). Impact of social networking on Indian youth - A survey. International Journal of Electronics and Information Engineering, 7(1), 41–51.

BHARUCHA, J. (2018). Social network use and youth well-being: A study in India. Safer Communities, 17(2), 119-131.

BINTE MOHAMMAD ADIB, N.A., & SABHARWAL, J.K. (2023). Experience of loneliness on well-being among young individuals: A systematic scoping review. Current Psychology.

BODFORD, J.E. (2017). Loneliness in Modern Life. In: SHACKELFORD, T., & WEEKES-SHACKELFORD, V. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Cham: Springer, pp. 1–16.

BORG, M.E., & WILLOUGHBY, T. (2023). What does it mean to be alone? An analysis of interpretations of solitude among adolescents and adults. Current Psychology, 42, 14498–14505.

BUCTOT, D.B., KIM, N., & KIM, J.J. (2020). Factors associated with smartphone addiction prevalence and its predictive capacity for health-related quality of life among Filipino adolescents. Children and Youth Services Review, 110, 104758.

CABA MACHADO, V., MCILROY, D., PADILLA ADAMUZ, F.M., MURPHY, R., & PALMER-CONN, S. (2023). The associations of use of social network sites with perceived social support and loneliness. Current Psychology, 42, 14414–14427.

CASH, H., RAE, C.D., STEEL, A.H., & WINKLER, A. (2012). Internet addiction: A brief summary of research and practice. Current Psychiatry Reviews, 8(4), 292–298.

CAUBERGHE, V., VAN WESENBEECK, I., DE JANS, S., HUDDERS, L., & PONNET, K. (2021). How adolescents use social media to cope with feelings of loneliness and anxiety during COVID-19 lockdown. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 24(4), 250–257.

DEMPSEY, A.E., O’BRIEN, K.D., TIAMIYU, M.F., & ELHAI, J.D. (2019). Fear of missing out (FoMO) and rumination mediate relations between social anxiety and problematic Facebook use. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 9, 100150.

DIBB, B., & FOSTER, M. (2021). Loneliness and Facebook use: The role of social comparison and rumination. Heliyon, 7(1), e05999.

GALPIN, A., & TAYLOR, G. (2018). Children, adolescents and screen use. The British Psychological Society.

GEULAYOV, G., MANSFIELD, K., JINDRA, C., HAWTON, K., & FAZEL, M. (2022). Loneliness and self-harm in adolescents during the first national COVID-19 lockdown: Results from a survey of 10,000 secondary school pupils in England. Current Psychology.

GHOSH, A., DASGUPTA, S., & BASU, J. (2019). Role of social interaction anxiety and sensation seeking in Facebook addiction among male and female college students. IAHRW International Journal of Social Sciences Review, 7(6), 1810–1814. Retrieved from

GHULAMI, H.R., ROESH, A.S., IBRAHIM, M.R., AKBARI, M., & MOHAMMADI, H. (2021). Facebook Addiction among Afghan University Students: A Structural Equation Modelling. Indian Journal of Data Communication and Networking, 1(2), 1–9.

GOMEZ-BAYA, D., RUBIO-GONZALEZ, A., & GASPAR DE MATOS, M. (2019). Online communication, peer relationships and school victimisation: A one-year longitudinal study during middle adolescence. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 24(2), 199–211.

GRIFFITHS, M.D. (2013). Social networking addiction: Emerging themes and issues. Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy, 4(5), e118.

HAAND, R., & ELHAM, A.Z. (2021). Social Media Addiction in the Least Developed Countries: A Quantitative Study among University Students in Afghanistan. International Journal of Sport Culture and Science, 9(2), 233–245.

HEINRICH, L.M., & GULLONE, E. (2006). The clinical significance of loneliness: A literature review. Clinical Psychology Review, 26(6), 695–718.

HO, S.S., LWIN, M.O., & LEE, E.W. (2017). Till logout do us part? Comparison of factors predicting excessive social network sites use and addiction between Singaporean adolescents and adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 75, 632–642.

HUNT, M.G., MARX, R., LIPSON, C., & YOUNG, J. (2018). No more FOMO: Limiting social media decreases loneliness and depression. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 37(10), 751–768.

KARAKOSE, T., YIRCI, R., UYGUN, H., & OZDEMIR, T.Y. (2016). Relationship between high school students’ Facebook addiction and loneliness status. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 12(9), 2419–2429.

KARSAY, K., SCHMUCK, D., MATTHES, J., & STEVIC, A. (2019). Longitudinal effects of excessive smartphone use on stress and loneliness: The moderating role of self-disclosure. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 22(11), 706–713.

KELES, B., MCCRAE, N., & GREALISH, A. (2020). A systematic review: The influence of social media on depression, anxiety and psychological distress in adolescents. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25(1), 79–93.

KELLY, Y., ZILANAWALA, A., BOOKER, C., & SACKER, A. (2018). Social Media Use and Adolescent Mental Health: Findings from the UK Millennium Cohort Study. eClinicalMedicine, 6, 59–68.

KIM, H.H. (2017). The impact of online social networking on adolescent psychological well-being (WB): A population-level analysis of Korean school-aged children. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 22(3), 364–376.

LONGOBARDI, C., SETTANNI, M., FABRIS, M.A., & MARENGO, D. (2020). Follow or be followed: Exploring the links between Instagram popularity, social media addiction, cyber victimization, and subjective happiness in Italian adolescents. Children and Youth Services Review, 113, 104955.

OBERST, U., WEGMANN, E., STODT, B., BRAND, M., & CHAMARRO, A. (2017). Negative consequences from heavy social networking in adolescents: The mediating role of fear of missing out. Journal of Adolescence, 55, 51–60.

O’DAY, E.B., & HEIMBERG, R.G. (2021). Social media use, social anxiety, and loneliness: A systematic review. Computers in Human Behavior Reports, 3, 100070.

OHANNESSIAN, C.M., & VANNUCCI, A. (2020). Technology use typologies and psychological adjustment during adolescence. Youth & Society, 52(6), 960–983.

OSBORN, T., WEATHERBURN, P., & FRENCH, R.S. (2021). Interventions to address loneliness and social isolation in young people: A systematic review of the evidence on acceptability and effectiveness. Journal of Adolescence, 93, 53–79.

PERIS HERNÁNDEZ, M., DE LA BARRERA, U., SCHOEPS, K., & MONTOYA CASTILLA, I. (2020). Psychological Risk Factors That Predict Social Networking and Internet Addiction in Adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(12), 4598.

PERLMAN, D., & PEPLAU, L.A. (1981). Toward a social psychology of loneliness. In: GILMOUR, R., & DUCK, S. (eds.) Personal Relationships: 3. Relationships in Disorder. London: Academic Press, pp. 31-56.

PRAVEEN, J.K. (1971). Manual of Perceived Loneliness Scale. Agra: National Psychological Corporation.

RADOVIC, A., GMELIN, T., STEIN, B.D., & MILLER, E. (2017). Depressed adolescents’ positive and negative use of social media. Journal of Adolescence, 55, 5–15.

RAJ, M., BHATTACHERJEE, S., & MUKHERJEE, A. (2018). Usage of online social networking sites among school students of Siliguri, West Bengal, India. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 40(5), 452–457.

RIPON, R.K., AL ZUBAYER, A., RAHMAN, Q.M., KHAN, A.H., RAHAMAN, A., HASAN, M.T., BHUIYAN, M.R.A.M., KHAN, M.K.A., CHOWDHURY, M.A.U., & HOSSAIN, M.Z. (2022). Factors associated with Facebook addiction among university students amid the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from an online cross-sectional survey. PLoS ONE, 17(8), e0272905.

ROKACH, A. (2019). The psychological journey to and from loneliness: Development, causes, and effects of social and emotional isolation. Academic Press.

SANTROCK, J.W. (2019). Life-Span Development. 17th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

SHAHNAWAZ, M.G., & REHMAN, U. (2020). Social networking addiction scale. Cogent Psychology, 7(1), 1832032.

SIMSEK, A., ELCIYAR, K., & KIZILHAN, T. (2019). A comparative study on social media addiction of high school and university students. Contemporary Educational Technology, 10(2), 106–119.

SONG, H., ZMYSLINSKI-SEELIG, A., KIM, J., DRENT, A., VICTOR, A., OMORI, K., & ALLEN, M. (2014). Does Facebook make you lonely?: A meta analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 446–452.

STANKOVSKA, G., ANGELKOVSKA, S., & GRNCAROVSKA, S.P. (2016). Social Networks Use, Loneliness and Academic Performance among University Students. Proceedings of the 14th Annual International Conference of the Bulgarian Comparative Education Society, Sofia, 14-17 June 2016, pp. 255-261. Retrieved from

TAGOMORI, H., FARDGHASSEMI, S., & JOFFE, H. (2022). How young adults cope with loneliness: A study of London’s most deprived boroughs. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 27(1), 1–22.

TANG, C.S., & KOH, Y.Y.W. (2017). Online social networking addiction among college students in Singapore: Comorbidity with behavioral addiction and affective disorder. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 25, 175–178.

THANKACHAN, A., JOY, A., ARTHANA, E., MANUEL, A., DILNA, K.V., LIBIJA, A., NEETHU, C.K., AUGUSTIN, K.S., JOHNSON, L.K., & SENTHILKUMAR, T. (2019). A Study to Assess the Level of Social Media App Addiction among Adolescents in a Selected Degree College, Kannur, Kerala. Asian Journal of Nursing Education and Research, 9(3), 312–316.

THOMAS, L., ORME, E., & KERRIGAN, F. (2020). Student loneliness: The role of social media through life transitions. Computers & Education, 146, 103754.

TWENGE, J.M., HAIDT, J., BLAKE, A.B., MCALLISTER, C., LEMON, H., & LE ROY, A. (2021). Worldwide increases in adolescent loneliness. Journal of Adolescence, 93, 257–269.

VAN DEN EIJNDEN, R.J., LEMMENS, J.S., & VALKENBURG, P.M. (2016). The social media disorder scale. Computers in Human Behavior, 61, 478–487.

WANG, K., FRISON, E., EGGERMONT, S., & VANDENBOSCH, L. (2018). Active public Facebook use and adolescents’ feelings of loneliness: Evidence for a curvilinear relationship. Journal of Adolescence, 67, 35–44.

WARTBERG, L., KRISTON, L., & THOMASIUS, R. (2020). Internet gaming disorder and problematic social media use in a representative sample of German adolescents: Prevalence estimates, comorbid depressive symptoms and related psychosocial aspects. Computers in Human Behavior, 103, 31–36.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. (2023). Adolescent health. Retrieved from

YU, L., & LUO, T. (2021). Social networking addiction among Hong Kong university students: Its health consequences and relationships with parenting behaviors. Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 555990.

YU, L., & SHEK, D.T.L. (2021). Positive Youth Development Attributes and Parenting as Protective Factors against Adolescent Social Networking Addiction in Hong Kong. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 9, 649232.

YURDAGÜL, C., KIRCABURUN, K., EMIRTEKIN, E., WANG, P., & GRIFFITHS, M.D. (2021). Psychopathological consequences related to problematic Instagram use among adolescents: The mediating role of body image dissatisfaction and moderating role of gender. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 19, 1385–1397.

ZHEN, R., LI, L., LI, G., & ZHOU, X. (2023). Social isolation, loneliness, and mobile phone dependence among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic: Roles of parent–child communication patterns. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 21, 1931–1945.

ZSIDO, A.N., ARATO, N., LANG, A., LABADI, B., STECINA, D., & BANDI, S.A. (2021). The role of maladaptive cognitive emotion regulation strategies and social anxiety in problematic smartphone and social media use. Personality and Individual Differences, 173, 110647.


  • There are currently no refbacks.