Impact of Emotional Intelligence (EI) on social network abuse among adolescents during COVID-19 outbreak in Italy.


Olimpia Pino
Silvia Mastromarino


Psychological distress, Emotional intelligence, Social network, COVID-19


Background and aim: This paper explores the relationship between Online Social Network (OSNs) abuse, Emotional Intelligence (EI), and distress due to COVID-19 confinement among adolescents.

Methods: A sample of 226 students from North Italy aged between 16 and 18 years completed from March to June 2020 the Bergen Social Media Scale (BSMAS), Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire-Short Form (TEIQue-SF) and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21).

Results: Females scored higher in social network use as compared to males [t (225) = 46.56, p = <.05]. The prevalence of symptoms of distress was also higher in females. Conversely, males scored significantly higher on total EI as compared to their counterparts [t (178) = 4.1544, p = <.003] indicating that high EI contributes towards better self-perception of psychological wellbeing. On the contrary, having high stress levels and low EI levels seems to predict the possibility to experience in a social network addiction.

Conclusions: Our findings suggested EI as a protective factor for OSNs’ addiction. Results support the need of implementing programs aimed at adopting an appropriate approach to the digital world and particularly addressed towards the growth of EI to reduce dysfunctional behaviors in adolescence. (


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