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The Effects of Peer Victimization on Children’s Internet Addiction and Psychological Distress: The Moderating Roles of Emotional and Social Intelligence

  • Yi-Ping HsiehEmail author
  • Hsi-Sheng Wei
  • Hsiao-Lin Hwa
  • April Chiung-Tao Shen
  • Jui-Ying Feng
  • Ching-Yu Huang
Original Paper

Abstract

This study examines the moderating effects of both emotional intelligence and social intelligence (social awareness and social information processing) on the relationship between peer victimization and internet addiction, and on the association between peer victimization and psychological distress. We collected data from a national proportionately-stratified random sample of 6233 fourth-grade primary school students in Taiwan and constructed hierarchical linear regression models to test the research hypotheses. The results show that youth who have experienced more peer victimization are at a higher risk of internet addiction and psychological distress than youth who have experienced less peer victimization. In this study, emotional intelligence was negatively associated with internet addiction, but it did not significantly buffer the impact of victimization on internet addiction. Social awareness was negatively associated with internet addiction, but it exacerbated the negative impact of peer victimization on internet addiction. On the other hand, emotional intelligence was negatively associated with psychological distress and buffered the negative impact of victimization on mental health. Social information processing was negatively associated with psychological distress, but it amplified the negative impact of peer victimization on mental health among Taiwanese adolescents. The research implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords

Peer victimization Internet addiction Emotional intelligence Social intelligence Mental health Taiwan 

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by the National Taiwan University (NTU) Children and Family Research Center.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkNational Taipei UniversityNew Taipei CityTaiwan
  3. 3.Department and Graduate Institute of Forensic MedicineNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Department of Social WorkNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  5. 5.Department of NursingNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainanTaiwan
  6. 6.Psychology DepartmentBournemouth UniversityFern BarrowUK

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