University of Oulu

Castrén S, Mustonen T, Hylkilä K, Männikkö N, Kääriäinen M, Raitasalo K. Risk Factors for Excessive Social Media Use Differ from Those of Gambling and Gaming in Finnish Youth. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(4):2406.

Risk factors for excessive social media use differ from those of gambling and gaming in Finnish youth

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Author: Castrén, Sari1,2,3; Mustonen, Terhi4; Hylkilä, Krista5;
Organizations: 1Health and Well-Being Promotion Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271 Helsinki, Finland
2Social Sciences Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology Turku, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland
3Department of Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
4Sosped Foundation, 00510 Helsinki, Finland
5Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
6School of Health and Social Care, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, 90101 Oulu, Finland
7Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, 90014 Oulu, Finland
8Department of Social Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, 70210 Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-05-18


Purpose: Adolescents’ excessive social media use has characteristics similar to other addictive behaviours. This study aims to explore whether the same risk factors are associated with excessive social media use as with excessive gaming and gambling among Finnish adolescents.

Methods: Multinomial logistic regression analyses were carried out using the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs data, collected from Finnish adolescents aged 15–16 in 2019 (n = 4595).

Results: Excessive use of social media was more common among girls (reported by 46% of respondents) than boys of the same age (28%), whereas boys reported both excessive gaming (23%) and gambling (6%) more often than girls (4% and 1%, respectively). All differences between genders were statistically significant (p < 0.0001). Daily smoking was associated with a high risk of excessive gambling (AOR = 3.23) and low risk of excessive gaming (AOR = 0.27) but had no significant effect on excessive social media use. Cannabis use in the past 12 months was positively associated only with excessive gambling (AOR = 2.39), while past 12 months alcohol consumption increased the risk for excessive social media use (AOR = 1.25).

Conclusions: Adolescent girls are at greater risk of excessive social media use than boys, while boys are at greater risk of excessive gaming and gambling. The associations with known risk factors are somewhat different for excessive use of social media as compared to excessive gambling and gaming and should be acknowledged when developing preventive measures for adolescents.

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Series: International journal of environmental research and public health
ISSN: 1661-7827
ISSN-E: 1660-4601
ISSN-L: 1661-7827
Volume: 19
Issue: 4
Article number: 2406
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19042406
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: The work of Sari Castrén was supported by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Helsinki, Finland (the §52 Appropriation of the Lotteries Act). However, it had no role in the study design, analysis, or interpretation of the results, of the manuscript, or any phase of the publication process. Kirsimarja Raitasalo worked on this project as part of her duties at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. Maria Kääriäinen, Niko Männikkö, Krista Hylkilä, and Terhi Mustonen worked on this project as their duty at Oulu University and Sosped Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (