Mindfulness as a Mediator in the Relationship between Social Media Engagement and Covid-19 related Distress
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As in times of the Covid-19 pandemic many personal and societal variables change, such as the time spent online, it creates a need to investigate whether negative consequences result from this. This study sought to examine the relationship between social media engagement, mindfulness, and Covid-19 related distress. Based on previous research, it was hypothesized that mindfulness would mediate the relationship between social media engagement and Covid-related distress in negative direction (hypothesis 1). Therein contained, it was expected to find a negative association between mindfulness and social media engagement; a negative association between mindfulness and Covid-19 related distress, and a positive relationship between social media engagement and Covid-19 related distress. Further, it was hypothesized that Covid-19 related perceived information overload (PIO, hypothesis 2a) and fear of missing out (FOMO, hypothesis 2b) would strengthen the relationship between social media engagement and Covid-19 related distress. The current study is characterized by a cross-sectional design which included 140 participants that were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk (male = 83, M age = 36.42, SD = 11.89). The results support hypothesis 1 and hypothesis 2b. The finding that mindfulness indeed acts as a mediator, points in the direction of developing mindfulness-based interventions that may effectively guide the way how social media should be approached to face less aversive affective outcomes. Further practical implications are to consider FOMO as a possible warning signal of subsequent Covid-19 related distress.