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PLoS One. 2019 Dec 3;14(12):e0225781. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0225781. eCollection 2019.

Development and validation of the Scale of Motives for Using Social Networking Sites (SMU-SNS) for adolescents and youths.

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Departamento de Psicología Evolutiva y de la Educación, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, Spain.
Department of Communication and Education, Universidad Loyola Andalucía, Seville, Spain.


Over the past decade, the Uses and Gratifications theory has driven research on the motives behind social media use. The three most commonly explored motives have been: maintaining relationships, seeking information, and entertainment. The aim of this study was to develop and validate the Scale of Motives for Using Social Networking Sites (SMU-SNS), a measure to assess a wider range of motives for using Social Networking Sites than have previously been researched. A multi-method design with different samples of high-school and university students was used. First, to develop the pool of items, a literature review and a focus group study (n = 48, age range = 16-21) was conducted. Second, to reduce and refine the pool of items a pilot study (n = 168, age range = 14-24) was performed. Third, a validation study (n = 1102, age range = 13-25) was conducted to assess the validity and reliability of the SMU-SNS. Cross-validation using EFA and CFA resulted in a final version comprising 27 items distributed in nine factors (Dating, New Friendships, Academic Purposes, Social Connectedness, Following and Monitoring Others, Entertainment, seeking Social Recognition, Self-expression, and seeking Information). Internal consistency was excellent and evidence of measurement invariance across gender and age was largely achieved. The SMU-SNS scores significantly correlated with other relevant variables, including age, gender, certain personality traits, social support, loneliness, and life satisfaction. Overall, findings supported the SMU-SNS as a valid and reliable measure to assess youth's motives for using Social Networking Sites. Psychometric and general implications are discussed.

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