Following the theoretical frameworks of the dual-factor model of Facebook use and the Self Determination Theory, the present study hypothesizes that the satisfaction of unmet needs through Social Networking Sites (SNSs) may represent a pathway towards problematic use of Internet communicative services (GPIU) for socially anxious people.
Four hundred undergraduate students (females = 51.8%; mean age = 22.45 + 2.09) completed three brief scales measuring the satisfaction via SNSs of the need to belong, the need for self-presentation and the need for assertiveness, the Generalized Problematic Internet Use Scale 2 and the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale. Structural equation modeling was performed separately for males and females.
A direct effect of social anxiety on GPIU was found among both genders. Socially anxious males and females tend to use SNSs for self-presentation purposes, as well as for the opportunity to be more assertive. The association between social anxiety and GPIU was partially mediated by the need for self-presentation only among males.
The present results extend our understanding of the development of problematic use of Internet communicative services, based on the framework of the dual factor model of Facebook use and the Self Determination Theory. The fulfillment of an unmet need for self-presentation (i.e. the desire to create a positive impression of one's self in others) through SNSs could be one of the possible pathways to GPIU for socially anxious males.