Front Psychol. 2018 May 1;9:642. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00642
This study investigated how parental behavioral control, parental psychological control, and parent-child relational qualities predicted the initial level and rate of change in adolescent internet addiction (IA) across the junior high school years. The study also investigated the concurrent and longitudinal effects of different parenting factors on adolescent IA. Starting from the 2009/2010 academic year, 3,328 Grade 7 students (Mage = 12.59 ± 0.74 years) from 28 randomly selected secondary schools in Hong Kong responded on a yearly basis to a questionnaire measuring multiple constructs including socio-demographic characteristics, perceived parenting characteristics, and IA. Individual growth curve (IGC) analyses showed that adolescent IA slightly decreased during junior high school years. While behavioral control of both parents was negatively related to the initial level of adolescent IA, only paternal behavioral control showed a significant positive relationship with the rate of linear change in IA, suggesting that higher paternal behavioral control predicted a slower decrease in IA. In addition, fathers’ and mothers’ psychological control was positively associated with the initial level of adolescent IA, but increase in maternal psychological control predicted a faster drop in IA. Finally, parent-child relational qualities negatively and positively predicted the initial level and the rate of change in IA, respectively. When all parenting factors were considered simultaneously, multiple regression analyses revealed that paternal behavioral control and psychological control as well as maternal psychological control and mother-child relational quality were significant concurrent predictors of adolescent IA at Wave 2 and Wave 3. Regarding the longitudinal predicting effects, paternal psychological control and mother-child relational quality at Wave 1 were the two most robust predictors of later adolescent IA at Wave 2 and Wave 3. The above findings underscore the importance of the parent-child subsystem qualities in influencing adolescent IA in the junior high school years. In particular, these findings shed light on the different impacts of fathering and mothering which are neglected in the scientific literature. While the findings based on the levels of IA are consistent with the existing theoretical models, findings on the rate of change are novel.
KEYWORDS: Hong Kong; family; individual growth curve; internet addiction; longitudinal study