A 2-year longitudinal study of prospective predictors of pathological Internet use in adolescents
- 1.1k Downloads
Longitudinal studies of prospective predictors for pathological Internet use (PIU) in adolescents as well as its course are lacking. This three-wave longitudinal study was conducted within the framework of the European Union-funded project “Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe” over a 2-year period. The sample consisted of 1444 students at the baseline investigation (T0); 1202 students after 1 year (T1); and 515 students after 2 years (T2). Structured self-report questionnaires were administered at all three time points. PIU was assessed using the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire (YDQ). In addition, demographic (i.e., gender), social (i.e., parental involvement), psychological (i.e., emotional problems), and Internet use-related factors (i.e., online activities) were assessed as prospective predictors. The prevalence of PIU was 4.3 % at T0, 2.7 % at T1 and 3.1 % at T2. However, only 3 students (0.58 %) had persistent categorical PIU (YDQ score of ≥5) over the 2-year period. In univariate models, a variety of variables that have been previously identified in cross-sectional investigations predicted PIU at T2. However, multivariate regression demonstrated that only previous PIU symptoms and emotional problems were significant predictors of PIU 2 years later (adjusted R 2 0.23). The stability of categorical PIU in adolescents over 2 years was lower than previously reported. However, current PIU symptoms were the best predictor of later PIU; emotional symptoms also predicted PIU over and above the influence of previous problematic Internet use. Both PIU symptoms and emotional problems may contribute to the vicious cycle that supports the perpetuation of PIU.
KeywordsInternet gaming disorder Internet addiction Longitudinal course Predictors Adolescents
The SEYLE project was supported through Coordination Theme 1 (Health) of the European Union Seventh Framework Program (FP7), Grant Agreement Number HEALTH-F2-2009-223091. The authors acted independently from the funders in all aspects of study design, data analysis, and writing of this manuscript. The Project Leader and Coordinator of the SEYLE project is Professor of Psychiatry and Suicidology Danuta Wasserman, Karolinska Institutet (KI), Head of the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health and Suicide (NASP), at KI, Stockholm, Sweden. The project manager is Vladimir Carli, Senior Lecturer at the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), KI, Stockholm, Sweden. Other members of the Executive Committee include Professor Marco Sarchiapone, Department of Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy; Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Christina Hoven and Anthropologist Camilla Wasserman, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, USA. The site leader of the German SEYLE project was Romuald Brunner, and the site coordinator was Michael Kaess, both from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. The Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg supported the analyses.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
The study was approved by the national ethics committees and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All participants provided their informed consent prior to their inclusion in the study.
- 1.Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverbund Südwest (2014) JIM 2014 (Jugend, Information, (Multi-) Media). Basisstudie zum Medienumgang 12- bis 19-Jähriger in Deutschland. [Internet]. http://www.mpfs.de/?id=631. Accessed 4 July 2015
- 3.Young KS (1998) Caught in the net: how to recognize the signs of Internet addiction—and a winning strategy for recovery. Wiley, New York, p 248Google Scholar
- 12.Schimmenti A, Caretti V, La Barbera D (2014) Internet gaming disorder or Internet addiction? A plea for conceptual clarity. Clin Neuropsychiatry 11(5):145–146Google Scholar
- 36.Carli V, Wasserman C, Wasserman D, Sarchiapone M, Apter A, Balazs J et al (2013) The saving and empowering young lives in Europe (SEYLE) randomized controlled trial (RCT): methodological issues and participant characteristics. BMC Public Health 13:479. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-479 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 46.Jessor R (2014) Problem Behavior Theory. In: Lerner RM (ed) The developmental science of adolescence: history through autobiography. Psychology Press, New York, pp 239–256Google Scholar
- 49.Coghill D, Sonuga-Barke EJS (2012) Annual research review: categories versus dimensions in the classification and conceptualisation of child and adolescent mental disorders—implications of recent empirical study: Categories and dimensions. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 53(5):469–489. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02511.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 56.Tambs K, Rønning T, Prescott CA, Kendler KS, Reichborn-Kjennerud T, Torgersen S et al (2009) The Norwegian Institute of Public Health Twin Study of Mental Health: examining Recruitment and Attrition Bias. Twin Res Hum Genet 12(02):158–168. doi: 10.1375/twin.12.2.158 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar