The active and passive use of Facebook: measurement and association with Facebook addiction

Giulia Fioravanti, Silvia Casale

Department of Health Sciences, Psychology and Psychiatry Unit, University of Florence, Italy


The present study created and validated a questionnaire to measure active and passive Facebook use, and evaluated its association to Facebook addiction. 


Two samples of undergraduate students (n = 533, M ± SD = 22.73 ± 2.77 years old, 51.1% females; and n = 222, M ± SD = 22.45 ± 2.83 years old, 49.5% females, respectively) were recruited. The Active and Passive Use of Facebook Scale (APUF) comprises a list of 17 Facebook activities, covering both active usage (e.g. “commenting on friends’ posts”) and passive usage (e.g. “viewing posts”). 


With regard to scale dimensionality, the best-fit measurement model includes four factors: Active use-social connection, Active use-online self-presentation, Passive use-social connection, and Passive use-social comparison (χ2/df = 2.34; RMSEA [90%CI] = .08[ .06- .09]; CFI = .96). With regard to reliability, internal-consistency Cronbach’s alpha ranges from .78 to .89. Convergent validity is demonstrated with significant correlations between APUF and time spent online, Generalized Problematic Internet Use Scale 2 score, and Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale score. Passive users who monitor other people lives (i.e. social comparison factor) were more likely to report higher levels of Facebook addiction. 


The present findings indicate that the APUF is a useful measure with good psychometric properties for assessing whether people use Facebook actively or passively. Having good measures of this aspect could really provide an important empirical contribution since the way people use social networks has an important role in determining how these sites impact subjective well-being.

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