General strain theory of Internet addiction and deviant behaviour in social networking sites (SNS)

Date11 March 2019
Published date11 March 2019
AuthorAR Mubarak,Steve Quinn
Subject MatterInformation & knowledge management,Information management & governance,Information & communications technology
General strain theory of Internet
addiction and deviant behaviour in
social networking sites (SNS)
AR Mubarak
Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, and
Steve Quinn
Department of Statistics, Data Science and Epidemiology,
Swinburne University of TechnologyFaculty of Science Engineeringand Technology,
Melbourne, Australia
Purpose This study aims to explore the association between internet addiction andproblem behaviours
on social networkingsites (SNS) using the general straintheory (Agnew, 1992).
Design/methodology/approach Using the purposive sampling method, a survey was conducted,
which collected data from 414 college students studying in two public universities in South Australia. The
Delphi methodwas used to develop the questionnaire used for the survey.
Findings 'Results of this research indicated a signicant association between internet addiction and problem
behaviours on SNS. Respondents who had engaged in problem behaviours on SNS had high internet addiction
test scores (Young, 1998). On the basis of this nding, the present research argues that the general strains
associated with the suffering of newly emerging challenges such as internet addiction might contribute to
victimisation and deviant and problem behaviours onSNS in specic and possibly in cyberspace in general.
Research limitations/implications Results of the present study need to be interpreted cautiously
due to many limitations it has. This research is a cross-sectionalstudy, which might not adequately explain
the associations between internetaddiction and problem behaviours on SNS. Longitudinal studies involving
larger samples might haveadded signicant value to this study. The present study uses purposive sampling
technique,which has limited its generalizability, and its ndings may notbe generalised to large populations.
Originality/value Limited information is available pertaining to the association between problem
behaviours on SNS and internetaddiction. The present study is a pioneering effort, which argues thatrapid
popularityof SNS is likely to increase internet addictionand the frustration of not getting propertreatment for
their internetaddiction might lead to deviant behaviourson SNS.
Keywords Ethics, Healthcare, Consumer behaviour, Social networks, Ethics education
Paper type Research paper
Social networking sites (SNS) are virtual platforms where users can create individual
proles of self, interact with real-time friends and meet other people online and share
personal interests. The SNS have seen rapid technological advancements and managed to
capture the attention of huge followers. In 2004, the most successful SNS Facebook was
launched and its growth has been exponential since then. As of December 2015, therewere
1.49 billion monthly active users of Facebook, which is a 13 per cent increase year on year.
There were 1.31 billion active usersof Facebook daily, which was an increase of 23 per cent
year on year (Zephoria Digital Marketing,2015). While Facebook remained the number one
SNS in 2015, other forms of social networking that are fast expanding include mobile
General strain
theory of
Received5 August 2016
Revised10 March 2017
Accepted12 May 2017
Journalof Information,
Communicationand Ethics in
Vol.17 No. 1, 2019
pp. 61-71
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JICES-08-2016-0024
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