Understanding the effect of social media overload on academic performance: a stressor-strain-outcome perspective

AbstractSocial media has deeply penetrated into university students’ daily lives, inducing excessive usage that can result in social media overload. However, only few studies have explored the adverse consequences of social media use from a pedagogical perspective. This paper aims to investigate the effects of overload on students’ academic performance and the underlying mechanism. Based on the stressor-strain-outcome model, we propose that information, communication, and social overloads influence technostress and exhaustion of students, which in turn impair their academic performance. Results from a study of 249 Chinese social media users in universities reveal that all three types of overload enhance technostress, but only information overload significantly affect exhaustion. Both technostress and exhaustion have negative effects on academic performance. This study enriches social media literature by identifying a more comprehensive classification of social media-related overload among university students and investigating the exact mechanism of excessive social media use in educational environment.


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