Health Commun. 2017 Aug 29:1-11. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2017.1358241.
In China, public concern continues to mount regarding the risks of excessive Internet use among adolescents. This study investigated the factors influencing Internet addiction and adolescent risk behaviors among excessive Internet users. Proposing a conceptual model with a theoretical origin in risk behavior theory and media dependency theory, this study examined the influence of personality traits, online gaming, Internet connectedness (both the overall index and various scopes), and demographics on Internet addiction and risk behaviors (smoking, drinking, gambling, and risky sexual behaviors).
Clinical data (N = 467) were retrieved from one of the earliest and largest Internet addiction clinics in China. The findings reveal that certain personality traits are significantly associated with Internet addiction and risk behaviors. Online gaming had a strong impact on both Internet addiction and risk behaviors among excessive Internet users.
The study also reveals that various scopes of Internet connectedness, such as site scope, facilitate addictive Internet use, and risk behaviors among adolescents. The findings can contribute to the prevention of and intervention into Internet addiction and adolescent risk behaviors.