State anxiety moderates the association between motivations and excessive smartphone use

  • Xi Shen
  • Hai-Zhen Wang
  • Detlef H. Rost
  • James Gaskin
  • Jin-Liang WangEmail author


Excessive smartphone use has recently attracted researchers’ attention. Previous studies have suggested that state anxiety and motivations are important predictors of excessive smartphone use. However, few studies have investigated how motivations and state anxiety interact with each other, and the subsequent impact on excessive smartphone use. In the current study, based on the Compensatory Internet Use theory, we analyzed the moderating role of state anxiety on the relationship between two types of motivations (i.e. entertainment and social interaction) and excessive smartphone use. Using the Smartphone Addiction Scale for College Students (SAS-C), Smartphone Usage Motivation Scale and State Anxiety Scale (S-Anxiety), we investigated 600 Chinese college students who identified themselves as smartphone users. Results indicated that: (1) for the high smartphone-use group, state anxiety moderates the relationship between entertainment and social interaction motivations and excessive smartphone use; (2) for the low smartphone-use group, state anxiety does not moderate the relationship between entertainment and social interaction motivations and excessive smartphone use. Our study emphasized the importance of psychological well-being variables (i.e. anxiety in this study) in facilitating excessive smartphone use, and may provide guidance for the design of interventions targeted at people suffering from excessive smartphone use.


State anxiety Entertainment motivation Social interaction motivation Excessive smartphone use 



This work was supported by the Key Cultivating Project in Southwest University [grant number is SWU1809006]. Grant title is The Psychological Mechanism and Prevention of Mobile Gaming Addiction among Young Individuals.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Mental Health Education, Faculty of PsychologySouthwest UniversityChongqingChina
  2. 2.Department of Tourism and Art for HumanityChongqing Youth & Vocational Technical CollegeChongqingChina
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyPhilipps-Universität MarburgMarburgGermany
  4. 4.Marriott School of BusinessBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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