There are many contributing factors to problematic social media use including personality differences, psychosocial factors, and specific use motivations. The present study (N=444 emerging adults, 75% women) investigated the direct and indirect relationships between trait emotional intelligence and problematic social media use via social media use motives by testing a complex mediation model. Path analyses suggested that trait emotional intelligence was directly and indirectly associated with problematic social media use via two social media use motives: (i) expressing or presenting a more popular self, and (ii) passing time. Results of the present study indicate that trait emotional intelligence may have a role in the motives for using social media as well as the development and maintenance of problematic social media use. Moreover, future studies should focus mediator risk factors between trait emotional intelligence and problematic social media use.