Are Adolescents with Internet Addiction Prone to Aggressive Behavior? The Mediating Effect of Clinical Comorbidities on the Predictability of Aggression in Adolescents with Internet Addiction (2015)

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2015 Apr 22.

Lim JA1, Gwak AR, Park SM, Kwon JG, Lee JY, Jung HY, Sohn BK, Kim JW, Kim DJ, Choi JS.


Previous studies have reported associations between aggression and Internet addiction disorder (IAD), which has also been linked with anxiety, depression, and impulsiveness. However, the causal relationship between aggression and IAD has thus far not been clearly demonstrated. This study was designed to (a) examine the association between aggression and IAD and (b) investigate the mediating effects of anxiety, depression, and impulsivity in cases in which IAD predicts aggression or aggression predicts IAD. A total of 714 middle school students in Seoul, South Korea, were asked to provide demographic information and complete the Young’s Internet Addiction Test (Y-IAT), the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire, the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11, the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory-2, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Conners-Wells Adolescent Self-Report Scale. Three groups were identified based on the Y-IAT: the usual user group (n=487, 68.2%), the high-risk group (n=191, 26.8%), and the Internet addiction group (n=13, 1.8%). The data revealed a linear association between aggression and IAD such that one variable could be predicted by the other. According to the path analysis, the clinical scales (BAI, BDI, and CASS) had partial or full mediating effects on the ability of aggression to predict IAD, but the clinical scales had no mediating effect on the ability of IAD to predict aggression. The current findings suggest that adolescents with IAD seem to have more aggressive dispositions than do normal adolescents. If more aggressive individuals are clinically prone to Internet addiction, early psychiatric intervention may contribute to the prevention of IAD.