J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2015 Oct 9. pii: S1083-3188(15)00326-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2015.10.005. [Epub ahead of print]
Prevalence, change, and correlates of adolescent Internet addiction were examined in this study based on six waves of longitudinal data collected over six years.
Over six years, students responded to a questionnaire containing measures of socio-demographic characteristics, positive youth development, family processes, and Internet addiction behavior.
The prevalence rates of Internet addiction in Hong Kong adolescents ranged from 17% to 26.8% during the high school years. Male students consistently showed a higher prevalence rate of Internet addiction and more Internet addictive behaviors than did female students.
Longitudinal data suggested that while family economic disadvantage served as a risk factor for youth Internet addiction, the effects of family intactness and family functioning were not significant. Students’ overall positive youth development and general positive youth development qualities were negatively related to Internet addictive behaviors whereas prosocial attributes had a positive relationship with youth Internet addiction.
The results suggest that promotion of positive youth development is a promising direction for preventing Internet addiction in Hong Kong adolescents. Gender and family economic disadvantage must be considered when designing the related prevention programs.