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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2016 Mar;19(3):202-8. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2015.0411. Epub 2016 Feb 5.

Resting-State Peripheral Catecholamine and Anxiety Levels in Korean Male Adolescents with Internet Game Addiction.

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1 Keimyung University College of Nursing , Daegu, Korea.
2 University of Illinois at Chicago , College of Nursing, Chicago, Illinois.
3 Department of Physiology, Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine , Wonju, Korea.


The purpose of this study was to compare the resting-state plasma catecholamine and anxiety levels of Korean male adolescents with Internet game addiction (IGA) and those without IGA. This cross-sectional comparative study was conducted with 230 male high school students in a South Korean city. Convenience and snowball sampling methods were employed, and data were collected using (1) participant blood samples analyzed for dopamine (DA), epinephrine (Epi), and norepinephrine (NE) and (2) two questionnaires to assess IGA and anxiety levels. Using SPSS 15.0, data were analyzed by descriptive analysis, χ(2)-tests, t-tests, and Pearson's correlation tests. The plasma Epi (t = 1.962, p < 0.050) and NE (t = 2.003, p = 0.046) levels were significantly lower in the IGA group than in the non-IGA group; DA levels did not significantly differ between the groups. The mean anxiety level of the IGA group was significantly higher compared with the non-IGA group (t = -6.193, p < 0.001). No significant correlations were found between catecholamine and anxiety levels. These results showed that excessive Internet gaming over time induced decreased peripheral Epi and NE levels, thus altering autonomic regulation, and increasing anxiety levels in male high school students. Based on these physiological and psychological effects, interventions intended to prevent and treat IGA should include stabilizing Epi, NE, and anxiety levels in adolescents.

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