A Longitudinal Study for the Empirical Validation of an Etiopathogenetic Model of Internet Addiction in Adolescence Based on Early Emotion Regulation (2018)

Biomed Res Int. 2018 Mar 7;2018:4038541. doi: 10.1155/2018/4038541.

Cimino S1, Cerniglia L2.


Several etiopathogenetic models have been conceptualized for the onset of Internet Addiction (IA). However, no study had evaluated the possible predictive effect of early emotion regulation strategies on the development of IA in adolescence. In a sample of N = 142 adolescents with Internet Addiction, this twelve-year longitudinal study aimed at verifying whether and how emotion regulation strategies (self-focused versus other-focused) at two years of age were predictive of school-age children’s internalizing/externalizing symptoms, which in turn fostered Internet Addiction (compulsive use of the Web versus distressed use) in adolescence. Our results confirmed our hypotheses demonstrating that early emotion regulation has an impact on the emotional-behavioral functioning in middle childhood (8 years of age), which in turn has an influence on the onset of IA in adolescence. Moreover, our results showed a strong, direct statistical link between the characteristics of emotion regulation strategies in infancy and IA in adolescence. These results indicate that a common root of unbalanced emotion regulation could lead to two different manifestations of Internet Addiction in youths and could be useful in the assessment and treatment of adolescents with IA.

PMID: 29707569

PMCID: PMC5863349

DOI: 10.1155/2018/4038541