Development of an Offline-Friend Addiction Questionnaire (O-FAQ): Are most people really social addicts?

Liam Satchell, Dean Fido, Craig Harper, Heather Shaw, Brittany Davidson, David A Ellis, Claire Hart, Rahul Jalil, Alice Jones Bartoli, LINDA KAYE, Gary Lancaster, Melissa Pavetich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A growing number of self-report measures aim to define interactions with social media in a pathological behavior framework; often using terminology focused on identifying those who are ‘addicted’ to engaging with others online. Specifically, measures of ‘social media addiction’ focus on motivations for online social information seeking, many of which could be motivations for offline social information seeking. It could be the case that these same measures could reveal a pattern of friend addiction in general. This study develops the Offline-Friend Addiction Questionnaire (O-FAQ) by re-wording items from highly-cited pathological social media use scales to reflect “spending time with friends”. Our methodology for validation follows literature precedent in social media addiction scales. The O-FAQ had a three-factor solution in an exploratory sample of N=807 and these factors were stable in a four-week retest (r= .72 to .86) and was validated against personality traits, and risk-taking behavior, in conceptually plausible directions. Using the same ‘polythetic classification techniques’ as pathological social media use studies, we were able to classify 69% of our sample as addicted to spending time with their friends. The discussion of our satirical research is a critical reflection on the role of measurement and human sociality in social media research. We question the extent to which connecting with others can be considered an ‘addiction’ and issues with the validation of new ‘addiction’ measures without relevant medical constructs. Readers should approach our measure with a level of skepticism that should be afforded to current social media addiction measures
Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Early online date24 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Social Media
  • Addiction

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