A growing body of research focusing on the risk factors of Internet use disorder (IUD) underlines the effect of sociodemographic variables like age and gender or comorbid mental disorders on IUD symptoms. The relation between IUD symptoms and school-related variables has to date been insufficiently studied. The present study closes this gap by investigating the relation between school-relevant factors such as absenteeism, school grades, procrastination, school-related social behavior, and learning behavior and IUD symptoms in a high-risk sample. n
= 418 students between 11 and 21 years of age (M =
15.10, SD =
1.97), screened for elevated risk of IUD, participated in the study. Sociodemographic data, school grades and absent days, Internet use variables (time spent online and gaming), as well as school-related psychological variables (procrastination, learning behavior, and social behavior) were assessed via self-report questionnaires. IUD symptoms were assessed with an adapted version of the German Video Game Dependency Scale (CSAS), which is based on the 9 criteria for Internet gaming disorder in the DSM-5. The instrument was adapted to include the assessment of non-gaming IUD symptoms. Taking the hierarchical structure of the data into account, a multilevel modeling approach was used to analyze the data. Procrastination, time spent online, and gaming were significant predictors of IUD symptoms at the individual level, whereas social behavior significantly predicted symptoms of IUD at the school level. In addition to previous findings on risk factors of IUD, this study indicates the importance of school-related factors in the development of IUD, especially psychological factors that play a role in the school setting. The early age of IUD onset and the high relevance of prevention of IUD at the school age underline the relevance of this finding.
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