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Article

Modulation of Instagram Number of Followings by Avoidance in Close Relationships in Young Adults under a Gene x Environment Perspective

1
Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38068 Rovereto TN, Italy
2
Mobile and Social Computing Lab, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, 38123 Trento TN, Italy
3
Psychology Program, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639818, Singapore
4
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 308232, Singapore
5
Human Genetics, Genome Institute of Singapore, Singapore 138672, Singapore
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Andrea Bonassi and Alessandro Carollo contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Luca Cerniglia, Silvia Cimino and Giulia Ballarotto
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7547; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147547
Received: 28 May 2021 / Revised: 12 July 2021 / Accepted: 13 July 2021 / Published: 15 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problematic Internet Use: A Biopsychosocial Model – Version II)
Social networking sites have determined radical changes in human life, demanding investigations on online socialization mechanisms. The knowledge acquired on in-person sociability could guide researchers to consider both environmental and genetic features as candidates of online socialization. Here, we explored the impact of the quality of adult attachment and the genetic properties of the Serotonin Transporter Gene (5-HTTLPR) on Instagram social behavior. Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised questionnaire was adopted to assess 57 Instagram users’ attachment pattern in close relationships with partners. Genotypes from the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 region were extracted from the users’ buccal mucosa and analyzed. Users’ Instagram social behavior was examined from four indexes: number of posts, number of followed users (“followings”) and number of followers, and the Social Desirability Index calculated from the followers to followings ratio. Although no interaction between rs25531 and ECR-R dimensions was found, an association between avoidance in close relationships and Instagram number of followings emerged. Post hoc analyses revealed adult avoidance from the partner predicts the Instagram number of followings with good evidence. Moreover, users reporting high avoidance levels displayed fewer followings than users who reported low levels of avoidance. This research provides a window into the psychobiological understanding of online socialization on Instagram.
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Keywords: gene x environment; close relationship; avoidance; serotonin transporter gene; rs25531; social networking sites; online behavior; Instagram gene x environment; close relationship; avoidance; serotonin transporter gene; rs25531; social networking sites; online behavior; Instagram
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bonassi, A.; Carollo, A.; Cataldo, I.; Gabrieli, G.; Tandiono, M.; Foo, J.N.; Lepri, B.; Esposito, G. Modulation of Instagram Number of Followings by Avoidance in Close Relationships in Young Adults under a Gene x Environment Perspective. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7547. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147547

AMA Style

Bonassi A, Carollo A, Cataldo I, Gabrieli G, Tandiono M, Foo JN, Lepri B, Esposito G. Modulation of Instagram Number of Followings by Avoidance in Close Relationships in Young Adults under a Gene x Environment Perspective. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(14):7547. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147547

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bonassi, Andrea, Alessandro Carollo, Ilaria Cataldo, Giulio Gabrieli, Moses Tandiono, Jia N. Foo, Bruno Lepri, and Gianluca Esposito. 2021. "Modulation of Instagram Number of Followings by Avoidance in Close Relationships in Young Adults under a Gene x Environment Perspective" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 14: 7547. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147547

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