Sleep problems and internet addiction among children and adolescents: a longitudinal study (2016)

J Sleep Res. 2016 Feb 8. doi: 10.1111/jsr.12388.

Chen YL1,2, Gau SS1,2.


Although the literature has documented associations between sleep problems and internet addiction, the temporal direction of these relationships has not been established. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the bidirectional relationships between sleep problems and internet addiction among children and adolescents longitudinally. A four-wave longitudinal study was conducted with 1253 children and adolescents in grades 3, 5 and 8 from March 2013 to January 2014. The sleep problems of the student participants were measured by parental reports on the Sleep Habit Questionnaire, which catalogues early insomnia, middle insomnia, disturbed circadian rhythm, periodic leg movements, sleep terrors, sleepwalking, sleep talking, nightmares, bruxism, snoring and sleep apnoea. The severity of internet addiction was measured by students’ self-reports on the Chen Internet Addiction Scale. Based on the results of time-lag models, dyssomnias (odds ratio = 1.31), especially early and middle insomnias (odds ratio = 1.74 and 2.24), sequentially predicted internet addiction, and internet addiction sequentially predicted disturbed circadian rhythm (odds ratio = 2.40), regardless of adjustment for gender and age. This is the first study to demonstrate the temporal relationship of early and middle insomnia predicting internet addiction, which subsequently predicts disturbed circadian rhythm. These findings imply that treatment strategies for sleep problems and internet addiction should vary according to the order of their occurrence.


Taiwan; children and adolescents; internet addiction; sleep problems