Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 1886–1897 | Cite as

Temperament and Problematic Internet Use in Adolescents: A Moderated Mediation Model of Maladaptive Cognition and Parenting Styles

  • Haiyan Zhang
  • Dongping LiEmail author
  • Xian Li
Original Paper


The present study investigated the mechanisms underlying the relation between temperament (i.e., effortful control, sensation seeking, and dispositional anger/frustration) and adolescent problematic internet use (PIU) by examining the mediating role of maladaptive cognition toward internet use in linking temperament and PIU and the moderating role of parenting styles in influencing the mediation. A total of 660 Chinese middle-school adolescents completed anonymous questionnaires regarding temperament, maladaptive cognition toward internet use, maternal parenting styles, and PIU. After controlling for gender, age, and family socioeconomic status, it was found that effortful control was negatively related to PIU, whereas sensation seeking and anger/frustration were positively related to PIU. Moreover, maladaptive cognition partially mediated the relation of effortful control and dispositional anger/frustration to PIU and completely mediated the relation of sensation seeking to PIU. Moderated mediation analyses further revealed that authoritative and permissive parenting styles moderated the relation between sensation seeking and maladaptive cognition. Specifically, in adolescents with low authoritative or low permissive mothers, sensation seeking promoted maladaptive cognition, whereas in adolescents with high authoritative or high permissive mothers, sensation seeking no longer predicted PIU. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.


Temperament Problematic internet use Parenting styles Maladaptive cognition Moderated mediation 



The authors thank all participants of the study and colleagues who participated in instrument development and data collection. The authors also thank Dr. Frank R. Vellutino and Dr. Kinsun Tam at the University at Albany-SUNY and Dr. Robin Akawi at Sierra College-Rocklin, CA for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyCentral China Normal UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Educational and Counseling PsychologyUniversity at Albany, SUNYAlbanyUSA

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