Mediating effect of loneliness on social emotional learning and pathological internet use in Singapore youth
Too, Martha Yng Yng
Chye, Stephanie Yen Leng
With globalization, the worldwide Internet Penetration Rate have increased and there have been a rapid growth in the number of Internet Users. A relative new phenomenon known as Pathological Internet Use (PIU) have since gained prominence in research and its association with negative effects, especially loneliness, have been reported in several studies. There is also growing number of literature that reported a significant association between one’s Social and Emotional Learning(SEL) Skills and Pathological Internet Use. Taken together, the current study proposes a model of loneliness mediating SEL and PIU. The data used in this study was earlier collected from another study involving 1623 youths from 5 different schools that aims to study the trends and factors of PIU among Singapore adolescents. Secondary analysis of the data revealed that SEL, Loneliness and PIU are significantly correlated to each other. In addition, according to Baron and Kenny (1981) mediation model, loneliness was also found to be a full mediator of SEL and PIU, although the Sobel Test(1982) showed the indirect effect of SEL on PIU through loneliness is insignificant. The findings of the study steers away from the common belief in the field that loneliness is a cause of PIU, but instead, highlights the crucial role of SEL in loneliness and PIU. The implications on local policy and practice, as well as the directions for future research in view of the limitations of the study, were also discussed in depth.