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Is Internet addiction transitory or persistent? Incidence and prospective predictors of remission of Internet addiction among Chinese secondary school students

Is Internet addiction transitory or persistent? Incidence and prospective predictors of remission of Internet addiction among Chinese secondary school students

Addictive Behaviors 74: 55-62

Internet addiction (IA) is prevalent among adolescents but it is potentially revertible. Only three Taiwan adolescent studies reported IA remission and a few related factors. We investigated incidence and predictors of remission among Hong Kong Chinese secondary school students with a 12-month longitudinal study. IA was defined as Chen Internet Addiction Scale (CIAS) score>63. Validated measures were used to assess students' psychosocial wellbeing at baseline and follow-up. Of 1545 students with IA at baseline, 1296 (83.9%) provided matched baseline/12-month follow-up data; their data were analyzed. Incidence of remission (CIAS≤63 at follow-up) was 59.29/100 person-years. Significant predictors included: 1) baseline CIAS score (ORa=.95), 2) baseline health belief model (HBM) constructs [perception of having severe IA (ORa=.34), perceived susceptibility to IA (ORa=0.82), perceived barrier (ORa=0.95), cue to action from parents (ORa=0.82), and self-efficacy for reducing Internet use (ORa=1.13)], and 3) baseline psychosocial health measures [self-esteem (ORa=1.03), severe depression (ORa=0.72) and social anxiety (ORa=0.96)] and their changes over time [depression (ORa=.95), anxiety (ORa=.94), loneliness (ORa=.93), self-esteem (ORa=1.07), positive affect (ORa=1.10) and family support (ORa=1.03)]. Two-thirds (64.3%) of the remission group presented reduced CIAS score>1.5 SD, and recorded larger improvements in psychosocial status over time than the non-remission group. Without noticeable interventions, incidence of remission was high and related to improvements in psychosocial health. Most of the HBM constructs, and baseline/changes in psychosocial measures predicted remission. Interventions to increase remission should modify these factors.

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Accession: 059892193

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PMID: 28578206

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