Investigating the Effect of Personality, Internet Literacy, and Use Expectancies in Internet-Use Disorder: A Comparative Study between China and Germany
General Psychology: Cognition and Center for Behavioral Addiction Research (CeBAR), University of Duisburg-Essen, 47057 Duisburg, Germany
Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 45141 Essen, Germany
Department of Molecular Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Ulm University, 89081 Ulm, Germany
Student Counselling Centre, Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Beijing 100037, China
Institute of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Epidemiology, University of Cologne, 50923 Cologne, Germany
School of Journalism and Communication, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China
Key Laboratory for NeuroInformation/Center for Information in Medicine, School of Life Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040579
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 19 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet and Mobile Phone Addiction: Health and Educational Effects)
Research on Internet-use Disorder (IUD) has increased rapidly, indicating its clinical and global importance. Past studies suggested cultural diversity regarding the prevalence of an IUD, e.g., between Asian and European countries. Additionally, it was found that personality factors, Internet-related cognitions and specific competences seem to influence IUD tendencies, but research lacks in cultural comparative studies regarding these mechanisms. This study focuses on differences between Germany and China regarding the above-mentioned characteristics. German (n = 411; M = 20.70 years, SD = 3.34 years) and Chinese participants (n = 410; M = 20.72 years, SD = 2.65 years) answered the short Internet Addiction Test, Big Five Inventories, the Internet-use Expectancies Scale, as well as the Internet Literacy Questionnaire. The results revealed higher occurrence of IUD symptoms in China. Furthermore, Chinese participants scored significantly higher on neuroticism and agreeableness, whereas German participants scored higher on extraversion and openness. Compared to German participants, Chinese showed higher expectancies to avoid negative feelings online and to be positively reinforced. Regarding Internet literacy, German participants indicated higher skills concerning the reflection and critical analysis of online content, whereas Chinese showed higher expertise in producing and interacting online. Further, simple slope analyses indicated that certain Internet literacy domains were related differentially to IUD symptoms in Germany and China. While Chinese participants with higher reflective skills indicated highest IUD symptoms, reflective skills revealed no effect in Germany. Additionally, higher self-regulative skills correlated with lower IUD symptoms in the German, but not in the Chinese sample. The results give a hint to potential cultural differences regarding IUD, especially on the predictive and protective role of Internet literacy domains.