The Mediating Effect of Self-Efficacy in the Relationship Between Parental Communication and Digital Addiction


Journal of Rational - Emotive and Cognitive - Behavior Therapy, 2024 (SSCI) identifier


In recent years, the excessive use of digital technologies has led to the emergence of digital addiction at earlier ages. However, studies explaining the causes of digital addiction are limited. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the links between maternal communication, paternal communication, and digital addiction, and whether these relationships were mediated by self-efficacy. It was also tested whether these links were moderated by gender. The data were collected from 601 middle school students aged 11–14 (61.7% girls, Mage = 12.23 SD = 1.03). The participants completed the Digital Addiction Scale for Children, Adolescent Family Process Measure, General Self-Efficacy Scale, and Demographic Questionnaire. Study hypotheses were tested by structural equation modeling. Findings showed that paternal communication was directly associated with self-efficacy, and also indirectly with digital addiction, mediated by self-efficacy. However, maternal communication was only directly associated with digital addiction. Moderation tests by gender were significant. The indirect effect of maternal communication on digital addiction was significant only for girls. The results suggest that the development of programs that will support parents' communication with their children and increase children's self-efficacy may be beneficial in preventing digital addiction. The findings may also help mental health professionals to understand the effects of parent–child communication on children's digital addiction.