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Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 163  |  Issue: 10  |  Page No.: 937 - 943

ARTICLE: Predictive Values of Psychiatric Symptoms for Internet Addiction in Adolescents: A 2-Year Prospective Study

C. H Ko, J. Y Yen, C. S Chen, Y. C Yeh and C. F. Yen

Abstract

Objectives  To evaluate the predictive values of psychiatric symptoms for the occurrence of Internet addiction and to determine the sex differences in the predictive value of psychiatric symptoms for the occurrence of Internet addiction in adolescents.

Design  Internet addiction, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, social phobia, and hostility were assessed by self-reported questionnaires. Participants were then invited to be assessed for Internet addiction 6, 12, and 24 months later (the second, third, and fourth assessments, respectively).

Setting  Ten junior high schools in southern Taiwan.

Participants  A total of 2293 (1179 boys and 1114 girls) adolescents participated in the initial investigation.

Main Exposure  The course of time.

Main Outcome Measure  Internet addiction as assessed using the Chen Internet Addiction Scale.

Results  Depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, social phobia, and hostility were found to predict the occurrence of Internet addiction in the 2-year follow-up, and hostility and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder were the most significant predictors of Internet addiction in male and female adolescents, respectively.

Conclusions  These results suggest that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, hostility, depression, and social phobia should be detected early on and intervention carried out to prevent Internet addiction in adolescents. Also, sex differences in psychiatric comorbidity should be taken into consideration when developing prevention and intervention strategies for Internet addiction.

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