Addict Behav. 2018 Jul;82:86-93. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.01.027. Epub 2018 Jan 31.
Internet addiction is prevalent among adolescents and is associated with various negative outcomes. Relatively few studies examined the role of emotion dysregulation and social support on Internet addiction in this population. The present examined the association between emotion dysregulation, social support, and Internet addiction among junior secondary school students in Hong Kong. The mediating role of emotion dysregulation and Internet use on the relationship between social support and Internet addiction and the gender difference in such association were also tested.
A total of 862 junior secondary school students (grade 7 to 8) from 4 schools completed a cross-sectional survey.
10.9% scored above the cut-off for Internet addiction based on the Chen Internet Addiction Scale. Results from structural equation modeling revealed that social support was negatively related to emotion dysregulation and Internet usage, which in turn, were positively related to Internet addiction. Results from multi-group analysis by gender showed that the relationship between social support and emotion dysregulation, Internet usage, and Internet addiction, and those between emotion dysregulation and Internet addiction and between Internet usage and Internet addiction were stronger among female participants.
Emotion dysregulation is a potential risk factor while social support is a potential protective factor for Internet addiction. The role of social support on emotion dysregulation and Internet addiction were stronger among female students. Gender-sensitive interventions on Internet Addiction for adolescents are warranted, such interventions should increase social support and improve emotion regulation.
KEYWORDS: Adolescents; Emotion dysregulation; Gender difference; Hong Kong; Internet addiction; Social support