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Br J Psychiatry. 2010 Jun;196(6):486-92. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.075002.

Internet addiction: prevalence, discriminant validity and correlates among adolescents in Hong Kong.

Author information

1
Journalism and Media Studies Centre, G24, Eliot Hall, Pokfulam Road,The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. kwfu@hku.hk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite increasing concern over the potential adverse effects of excessive internet use, especially in young people, there is some debate over its definition, magnitude and discriminant validity.

AIMS:

To examine the prevalence of adolescents' internet addiction in Hong Kong, China; to test its differentiation from other correlates; and to examine its relationships with correlates in a representative community sample of adolescents.

METHOD:

A two-wave panel household survey with 208 adolescents (aged 15-19 years) was conducted. Participants were asked to self-report their patterns of internet usage, symptoms of internet addiction, suicidal ideation, psychiatric symptoms and psychosocial conditions during the study period.

RESULTS:

The prevalence rate for having five or more symptoms of internet addiction was estimated to be 6.7% (95% CI 3.3-10.2). The discriminatory characteristic of internet addiction was marginally demonstrated. Positive dose-response relationships were found between the number of symptoms of internet addiction and 1-year changes in scores for suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS:

Evidence supports the specificity of internet addiction and its symptoms seem to co-occur with individuals' suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms.

PMID:
20513862
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.bp.109.075002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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