Risk and protective factors of internet addiction: a meta-analysis of empirical studies in Korea (2014)

Yonsei Med J. 2014 Nov 1;55(6):1691-711. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2014.55.6.1691.

Koo HJ1, Kwon JH2.



A meta-analysis of empirical studies performed in Korea was conducted to systematically investigate the associations between the indices of Internet addiction (IA) and psychosocial variables.


Systematic literature searches were carried out using the Korean Studies Information Service System, Research Information Sharing Service, Science Direct, Google Scholar, and references in review articles. The key words were Internet addiction, (Internet) game addiction, and pathological, problematic, and excessive Internet use. Only original research papers using Korean samples published from 1999 to 2012 and officially reviewed by peers were included for analysis. Ninety-five studies meeting the inclusion criteria were identified.


The magnitude of the overall effect size of the intrapersonal variables associated with internet addiction was significantly higher than that of interpersonal variables. Specifically, IA demonstrated a medium to strong association with “escape from self” and “self-identity” as self-related variables. “Attention problem”, “self-control”, and “emotional regulation” as control and regulation-relation variables; “addiction and absorption traits” as temperament variables; “anger” and “aggression” as emotion and mood and variables; “negative stress coping” as coping variables were also associated with comparably larger effect sizes. Contrary to our expectation, the magnitude of the correlations between relational ability and quality, parental relationships and family functionality, and IA were found to be small. The strength of the association between IA and the risk and protective factors was found to be higher in younger age groups.


The findings highlight a need for closer examination of psychosocial factors, especially intrapersonal variables when assessing high-risk individuals and designing intervention strategies for both general IA and Internet game addiction.


Internet addiction; meta-analysis; protective factors; psychological variables; risk factors