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Relationship between internet use and negative affect

Zheng, H
Ma, Wanglin
Li, J
Botero Robayo, J
Journal Article
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::420606 Social determinants of health , ANZSRC::5299 Other psychology , ANZSRC::460806 Human-computer interaction , ANZSRC::4410 Sociology , ANZSRC::5201 Applied and developmental psychology
While positive emotions like happiness and life satisfaction have received great attention, how to eliminate negative affect is largely neglected. This study contributes to the literature by examining the relationship between Internet use and people’s negative affect. Unlike previous studies that consider only one indicator, we capture negative affect from different dimensions by considering loneliness, sadness, and life hardship. We employ an endogenous ordered probit model to address the selection bias of Internet use and analyze the 20,107 individual-level samples sourced from the 2020 China Family Panel Studies survey. The results show that Internet use significantly reduces people’s loneliness, sadness, and life hardship. We also find that studying online and watching short videos would increase people’s loneliness feeling and shopping online deepens people’s life hardship. In contrast, using WeChat significantly reduces sadness and life hardship. Our findings confirm that guiding people to use the Internet appropriately is necessary to reduce negative affect and improve the quality of their life.