Research shows that insecure attachment styles and failures in mentalizing are associated with increased problematic social media use (PSMU). This study aimed to investigate the mediating role of failures in mentalizing in the relationships between attachment styles and PSMU within a large sample of individuals from the community. The study involved the participation of 3600 adult volunteers (2312 females, 64.2%) aged between 18 and 60 years old (M = 29.92; SD = 10.68). Participants completed measures to assess socio-demographics, adult attachment styles, mentalization, and PSMU. Findings showed that secure and dismissing attachment styles predicted reduced levels of PSMU, and that preoccupied and fearful attachment styles predicted increased levels of PSMU. The relationships between adult attachment styles and PSMU were mediated by failures in mentalizing. Thus, individuals with preoccupied and fearful attachment styles may excessively resort to social media as a means of coping with unprocessed mental states. Clinical interventions that focus on improving mentalizing abilities and promoting the adoption of appropriate self-regulation strategies might reduce maladaptive engagement in social media.

Insecure Minds through the Looking Glass: The Mediating Role of Mentalization in the Relationships between Adult Attachment Styles and Problematic Social Media Use

Santoro, Gianluca;Costanzo, Antonino;Schimmenti, Adriano
2024-01-01

Abstract

Research shows that insecure attachment styles and failures in mentalizing are associated with increased problematic social media use (PSMU). This study aimed to investigate the mediating role of failures in mentalizing in the relationships between attachment styles and PSMU within a large sample of individuals from the community. The study involved the participation of 3600 adult volunteers (2312 females, 64.2%) aged between 18 and 60 years old (M = 29.92; SD = 10.68). Participants completed measures to assess socio-demographics, adult attachment styles, mentalization, and PSMU. Findings showed that secure and dismissing attachment styles predicted reduced levels of PSMU, and that preoccupied and fearful attachment styles predicted increased levels of PSMU. The relationships between adult attachment styles and PSMU were mediated by failures in mentalizing. Thus, individuals with preoccupied and fearful attachment styles may excessively resort to social media as a means of coping with unprocessed mental states. Clinical interventions that focus on improving mentalizing abilities and promoting the adoption of appropriate self-regulation strategies might reduce maladaptive engagement in social media.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/164947
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