Due to the serious situation of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide, many countries have implemented policies to minimize the spread of COVID-19 infection. However, some of these policies prevent people from physical contact. Consequently, many individuals may rely on social media to obtain information concerning COVID-19. Unfortunately, social media use (especially problematic social media use) may give rise to psychological distress. Therefore, this study thus examined potential psychopathology to explain the association between problematic social media use, psychological distress, and insomnia.
Utilizing an online survey, a sample of Iranian young adults (n=1078 with 628 males; mean age=26.24 years [SD±7.41]) completed questions and psychometric scales concerning psychological distress, insomnia, problematic social media use, fear of COVID-19, and COVID-19 misunderstanding.
Problematic social media use was significantly associated with psychological distress both directly and indirectly. The indirect effects were through fear of COVID-19 (unstandardized coefficient [B]=0.177; Bootstrapping SE=0.026) and COVID-19 misunderstanding (B=0.060; Bootstrapping SE=0.014). Problematic social media use was significantly associated with insomnia both directly and indirectly. The indirect effect was through fear of COVID-19 (B=0.062; Bootstrapping SE=0.019) but not COVID-19 misunderstanding (B=0.012; Bootstrapping SE=0.014).
Due to the pressure of the COVID-19 outbreak, individuals are highly likely to develop psychological distress and insomnia. Apart from developing appropriate health policies to minimize the spread of COVID-19 infection, healthcare providers should design appropriate online campaigns to eliminate people’s fear of COVID-19 and to diminish misunderstanding concerning COVID-19.
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V.