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Open AccessArticle

Problematic Internet Use and Smoking among Chinese Junior Secondary Students: The Mediating Role of Depressive Symptomatology and Family Support

by Phoenix Kit-han Mo 1,2,†, Ji-Bin Li 3,†, Hui Jiang 1 and Joseph T. F. Lau 1,2,*
1
Center for Health Behaviours Research, School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
2
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen 518057, China
3
Department of Clinical Research, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to the paper.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5053; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245053
Received: 4 November 2019 / Revised: 4 December 2019 / Accepted: 8 December 2019 / Published: 11 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
Background: Internet use is significant public health issue and can be a risk factor for other addictive behaviors, such as smoking. The present study examined the association between problematic Internet use (PIU) (i.e., Internet addiction (IA) and social networking addiction (SNA)) and smoking, and the mediating role of depressive symptomatology and family support played in such associations. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 5182 junior secondary students (grade 7 and 8) recruited from nine schools using stratified sampling. Results: A total of 3.6% of students had smoked in the past month, and 6.4% of students were identified as IA cases. Adjusted for significant background variables, PIU (ORa = 2.07, 95% CI = 1.48, 2.90 for IA, ORa = 1.26, 95% CI = 1.09, 1.47 for SNA), and probable depression (ORa = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.05, 1.69) were significant risk factors, while family support (ORa = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.77, 0.94) was a significant protective factor of smoking. The mediation effects of lower family support and probable depression on the association between score on IA scale and smoking, and the mediation effect of lower family support on the association between score on SNA scale and smoking were significant, while the mediation effect of probable depression on the association between score on SNA scale and smoking was marginally significant. Conclusions: PIU contributed to an increased risk of smoking through depressive symptomatology and decreasing family support among junior school students. Interventions to reduce smoking are warranted; they should seek to reduce problematic Internet use and depressive symptomatology, and promote family support. View Full-Text
Keywords: internet addiction; social networking addiction; smoking; depression; family support; adolescents internet addiction; social networking addiction; smoking; depression; family support; adolescents
MDPI and ACS Style

Mo, P. .-H.; Li, J.-B.; Jiang, H.; Lau, J.T.F. Problematic Internet Use and Smoking among Chinese Junior Secondary Students: The Mediating Role of Depressive Symptomatology and Family Support. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 5053.

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