Internet addiction and psychological distress among Chinese schoolchildren before and during the COVID-19 outbreak: a latent class analysis

Chen, I.-H., Chen, C.-Y., Liu, C.-H., Ahorsu, D.K., Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, Chen, Y.-P., Kuo, Y.-J., Lin, C.-Y., Pakpour, A.H. and Wang, S.-M., 2021. Internet addiction and psychological distress among Chinese schoolchildren before and during the COVID-19 outbreak: a latent class analysis. Journal of Behavioral Addictions. ISSN 2062-5871

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Abstract

Background and aims: The present longitudinal study examined the changes in problematic internet use (problematic smartphone use, problematic social media use, and problematic gaming) and changes in COVID-19-related psychological distress (fear of COVID-19 and worry concerning COVID-19) across three time-points (before the COVID-19 outbreak, during the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, and during the COVID-19 outbreak recovery period).

Methods: A total of 504 Chinese schoolchildren completed measures concerning problematic internet use and psychological distress across three timepoints. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to classify participants into three groups of problematic internet use comprising Group 1 (lowest level), Group 2 (moderate level), and Group 3 (highest level).

Results: Statistical analyses showed that as problematic use of internet-related activities declined among Group 3 participants across the three time points, participants in Group 1 and Group 2 had increased problematic use of internet-related activities. Although there was no between-group difference in relation to worrying concerning COVID-19 infection, Groups 2 and 3 had significantly higher levels of fear of COVID-19 than Group 1 during the COVID-19 recovery period. Regression analysis showed that change in problematic internet use predicted fear of COVID-19 during the recovery period.

Conclusion: The varied levels of problematic internet use among schoolchildren reflect different changing trends of additive behaviors during COVID-19 outbreak and recovery periods.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Creators: Chen, I.-H., Chen, C.-Y., Liu, C.-H., Ahorsu, D.K., Griffiths, M.D., Chen, Y.-P., Kuo, Y.-J., Lin, C.-Y., Pakpour, A.H. and Wang, S.-M.
Publisher: Akademiai Kiado Zrt.
Date: 15 September 2021
ISSN: 2062-5871
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1556/2006.2021.00052DOI
1472617Other
Rights: © 2021 The Author(s) This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 23 Sep 2021 14:01
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 14:01
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/44242

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