Associations of personality traits with internet addiction in Chinese medical students: the mediating role of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms (2019)

BMC Psychiatry. 2019 Jun 17;19(1):183. doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2173-9.

Shi M1,2, Du TJ3.



Internet addiction (IA) has emerged as a public health concern, particularly among adolescents and young adults. However, few studies have been conducted in medical students. This multi-center study aimed to investigate the prevalence of IA in Chinese medical students, to examine the associations of big five personality traits with IA in the population, and to explore the possible mediating role of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in the relationship.


Self-reported questionnaires, including Internet Addiction Test (IAT), Big Five Inventory (BFI), Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V1.1 (ASRS-V1.1) Screener, and socio-demographic section were distributed to clinical students at 3 medical schools in China. A total of 1264 students became the final subjects.


The overall prevalence of IA among Chinese medical students was 44.7% (IAT > 30), and 9.2% of the students demonstrated moderate or severe IA (IAT ≥ 50). After adjustment for covariates, while conscientiousness and agreeableness were negatively associated with IA, neuroticism was positively associated with it. ADHD symptoms mediated the associations of conscientiousness, agreeableness and neuroticism with IA.


The prevalence of IA among Chinese medical students is high. Both personality traits and ADHD symptoms should be considered when tailored intervention strategies are designed to prevent and reduce IA in medical students.


Internet addiction, ADHD symptoms; Medical students; Personality traits

PMID: 31208378

DOI: 10.1186/s12888-019-2173-9