Insecure Attachment and Technology Addiction among Young Adults: The Mediating Role of Impulsivity, Alexithymia, and General Psychological Distress

Chiara Remondi, Angelo Compare, Giorgio A. Tasca, Andrea Greco, Luca Pievani, Barbara Poletti, Agostino Brugnera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have emphasized the effect of insecurity attachment on youth's Internet and smartphone addiction. In this study, we examine the mediating role of alexithymia, impulsivity, and general psychological distress in the relationship between insecure attachment dimensions and technology addiction. Data were collected from 539 adolescents and young adults, mostly women (N = 378; 70.1 percent), aged 19.76 ± 1.99 years. Participants completed self-report measures of attachment insecurity, psychological risk factors (i.e., impulsivity, psychological distress, and alexithymia), and technology addiction (i.e., problematic Internet use, smartphone, and Internet addiction). The gender-related (i.e., multi-group) mediation model was tested through a path analysis with both observed and latent variables. Attachment anxiety had no direct effect on technology addiction, whereas attachment avoidance had a small negative direct effect, but only among women. Insecure attachment dimensions were significantly associated with psychological risk factors, whereas the latter had a significant, direct association with technology addiction. Psychological risk factors significantly mediated the association between insecure attachment dimensions and technology addiction. Finally, the tested model was gender-invariant. Findings suggest that insecure attachment dimensions have an indirect effect on the development of technology addiction mediated almost entirely by higher levels of psychological risk factors. Such findings might have relevant implications to inform any treatment plan for young adults who are overinvolved with technology activities and so to deliver patient-tailored interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-767
Number of pages7
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume23
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020

Keywords

  • attachment anxiety
  • attachment avoidance
  • Internet addiction
  • problematic Internet use
  • psychological risk factors
  • smartphone addiction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications

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