Special Issue "Internet-Related Addictions and Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Anise M. S. Wu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Macau, Macao, China
Interests: behavioral addictions; health psychology; mental health
Prof. Phoenix K. H. Mo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Interests: ehealth; behavioral addictions; psychosocial aspects in behavioral health
Prof. Joseph Tak-fai Lau
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Interests: behavioral health; epidemiology; HIV/AIDS research; sexual health; emerging infectious diseases; influenza vaccination and prevention; addictive behaviors; resilience intervention; child abuse; community stress due to disasters; public mental health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue on Internet-related addictions and health in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Internet-related addictions have been widely reported worldwide and are considered an emergent serious global health threat. They involve problematic use of online activities (e.g., gaming and social networking) in the presence of addiction symptoms such as preoccupation, tolerance development, and withdrawal symptoms. They interfere with many aspects of our daily life including academic/work performance, physical activity level, mental state, emotional state, and social interactions. Poor physical/psychosocial health is also a risk factor of Internet-related addiction.

This Special Issue aims to offer the reader the latest findings about Internet-related addictions, associated problems, and physical/psychosocial health in different populations, as well as the potential factors and mechanisms involved. We welcome high-quality research papers on this subject for this Special Issue. The keywords listed below provide some of the many possible topics.

Prof. Anise M. S. Wu
Prof. Phoenix K. H. Mo
Prof. Joseph Tak-fai Lau
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Online gaming, social networking, online gambling, online shopping, cybersex and other online addictive behaviors
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Internet addiction and problematic Internet use
  • Physical health
  • Psychosocial health
  • Subjective wellbeing
  • Comorbidity
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Intervention studies
  • Meta-analysis
  • Prevention and treatment
  • Management

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Need Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction on Flourishing among Young Chinese Gamers: The Mediating Role of Internet Gaming Disorder
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4367; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224367 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
Given the increasing popularity of online game playing, the negative impacts of game addiction on both adolescents and adults attracted our attention. Previous studies based on the self-determination theory have examined the effects of the three basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and [...] Read more.
Given the increasing popularity of online game playing, the negative impacts of game addiction on both adolescents and adults attracted our attention. Previous studies based on the self-determination theory have examined the effects of the three basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness on problematic video game playing among Chinese young adults. Yet, as more evidence emerged pointing to the possible relation between need dissatisfaction and higher vulnerability for ill-being and psychopathology, the present study aimed to incorporate the impacts of both satisfaction and dissatisfaction for autonomy, competence, and relatedness in explaining Internet gaming disorder (IGD), a condition that may in turn impede eudaimonic well-being as indicated by flourishing. In a self-administered online survey with a valid sample of 1200 Chinese young adults aged 18–24 years (mean age = 19.48 years), the prevalence of probable IGD (for those who reported five or more symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) symptom list for IGD) was 7.5%. Our results showed that relatedness dissatisfaction positively predicted IGD symptoms after controlling for other need satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Also, flourishing was found to be negatively predicted by IGD. Finally, IGD was found to mediate the effect of relatedness dissatisfaction on flourishing. Our findings suggested a risk factor of relatedness dissatisfaction in predicting IGD, thereby significantly predicting flourishing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
The Clinical Utility of the Chen Internet Addiction Scale—Gaming Version, for Internet Gaming Disorder in the DSM-5 among Young Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214141 - 28 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Objectives: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes the diagnostic criteria for Internet gaming disorder (IGD). This study evaluated (1) the screening, diagnostic, and prevalence-estimated cutoff points of the Chen Internet Addiction Scale–Gaming Version (CIAS-G) for IGD [...] Read more.
Objectives: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes the diagnostic criteria for Internet gaming disorder (IGD). This study evaluated (1) the screening, diagnostic, and prevalence-estimated cutoff points of the Chen Internet Addiction Scale–Gaming Version (CIAS-G) for IGD in the DSM-5; and (2) the differences in the CIAS-G and subscale scores among individuals with IGD, regular gamers (RGs), and other control subjects. Methods: We recruited 69 participants with IGD, 69 RGs, and 69 healthy participants based on diagnostic interviews conducted by a psychiatrist according to DSM-5 IGD criteria. All participants completed the CIAS-G and were assessed using the clinical global impression scale. Results: The optimal screening and diagnostic cutoff points were 68 or more (sensitivity, 97.1%; specificity, 76.8%) and 72 or more (sensitivity, 85.5%; specificity, 87.0%) for IGD based on DSM-5 criteria, respectively. The 76 or more cutoff point had the highest number needed to misdiagnose and was the optimal prevalence estimated cutoff point. Conclusions: The screening cutoff point could be used to identify individuals with IGD for further diagnostic interviewing to confirm the diagnosis in the clinical setting or for two-stage epidemiological evaluation. The diagnostic cutoff point provides a provisional diagnosis of IGD when diagnostic interviewing is unavailable. The prevalence-estimated cutoff point could be used to estimate the prevalence of IGD in large-scale epidemiological investigations when further diagnostic interviewing is impractical. The clinical and epidemiological utility of CIAS-G warrants further study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Profiles of Problematic Internet Use and Its Impact on Adolescents’ Health-Related Quality of Life
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203877 - 13 Oct 2019
Abstract
The internet has been a breakthrough for adolescents in many ways, but its use can also become dysfunctional and problematic, leading to consequences for personal well-being. The main objective is to analyze profiles related to problematic internet use and its relationship with health-related [...] Read more.
The internet has been a breakthrough for adolescents in many ways, but its use can also become dysfunctional and problematic, leading to consequences for personal well-being. The main objective is to analyze profiles related to problematic internet use and its relationship with health-related quality of life (HRQoL). An analytical and cross-sectional study was carried out in a region of northern Spain. The sample comprised 12,285 participants. Sampling was random and representative. Mean age and standard deviation was 14.69 ± 1.73 (11–18 years). The Spanish versions of the Problematic and Generalized Internet Use Scale (GPIUS2) and of the Health-Related Quality of Life (KIDSCREEN-27) were used. Four profiles were detected (non-problematic use, mood regulator, problematic internet use, and severe problematic use). The prevalence of these last two profiles was 18.5% and 4.9%, respectively. Problematic internet use correlated negatively and significantly with HRQoL. The severe problematic use profile presented a significant decrease in all dimensions of HRQoL. Analyses were carried out to extract a cut-off point for GPIUS2 (52 points). The results and practical implications are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Internet Interpersonal Connection Mediates the Association between Personality and Internet Addiction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3537; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193537 - 21 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Backgrounds: The development of the Internet has changed interpersonal interactions, so that people no longer need to physically meet each other. However, some people are more vulnerable to becoming addicted to Internet activities, something to which the ease of Internet access and usage [...] Read more.
Backgrounds: The development of the Internet has changed interpersonal interactions, so that people no longer need to physically meet each other. However, some people are more vulnerable to becoming addicted to Internet activities, something to which the ease of Internet access and usage has contributed. In this study, we examined the association between personality traits and feelings about online interpersonal interactions to predict Internet addiction. This was accomplished using an online advertisement that asked participants to complete the questionnaires in the laboratory. Methods: Two hundred and twenty-three participants with a mean age of 22.50 years were recruited for this study and asked to complete the following questionnaires: the Beck Depressive Inventory (BDI), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), the Chen Internet Addiction Scale (CIAS), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), the Internet Usage Questionnaire (IUQ) and the Feelings of Internet Interpersonal Interaction Questionnaire (FIIIQ). Results: The results showed that people with a neurotic personality and anxious feelings about Internet interpersonal interactions are more likely to become addicted to the Internet. In addition, people with neuroticism and who are more anxious about Internet interpersonal relationships are more likely to develop Internet addiction. Conclusions: People who tend to develop new interpersonal relationships via the Internet and be anxious about online interpersonal relationships are more vulnerable to becoming addicted to the Internet. The individuals who are more anxious about Internet interpersonal interaction and tend to develop new interpersonal relationships via the Internet are more likely to develop Internet addiction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
The Predictive Value of Emotional Intelligence for Internet Gaming Disorder: A 1-Year Longitudinal Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(15), 2762; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16152762 - 02 Aug 2019
Abstract
This one-year longitudinal study examined trait emotional intelligence as a predictor of Internet gaming disorder (IGD). To date, only cross-sectional research has been conducted to test the protective effects of emotional intelligence against IGD tendency. Based on the Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution (I-PACE) model, [...] Read more.
This one-year longitudinal study examined trait emotional intelligence as a predictor of Internet gaming disorder (IGD). To date, only cross-sectional research has been conducted to test the protective effects of emotional intelligence against IGD tendency. Based on the Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution (I-PACE) model, this study aimed to address the research gap by examining not only the direct effects of trait emotional intelligence, but also its indirect effects (via depressive symptoms and coping flexibility) on IGD, with both a cross-sectional and longitudinal design. The participants were 282 Chinese university students (mean age = 20.47; 39.4% males) who voluntarily completed an anonymous questionnaire at both baseline (W1) and one-year follow-up (W2). Path analysis results revealed that trait emotional intelligence had a protective but indirect effect on IGD tendency in both our cross-sectional and longitudinal data. Depression was found to have a significant, full mediating effect on the relationship between: (i) trait emotional intelligence and IGD tendency (W2) and (ii) coping flexibility and IGD tendency (W2), after adjusting for IGD tendency at the baseline (W1). Gender invariance of the path coefficient was also observed in the prospective model. This study provided longitudinal evidence to support the I-PACE model. Interventions should address both IGD and depressive symptoms, and school-based workshops to increase emotional intelligence and coping flexibility are also recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Interaction of Health Literacy and Problematic Mobile Phone Use and Their Impact on Non-Suicidal Self-Injury among Chinese Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2366; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132366 - 03 Jul 2019
Abstract
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is prevalent among adolescents. Low health literacy (HL) and problematic mobile phone use (PMPU) are risk factors of NSSI. But so far, no study has examined the interactive role of HL and PMPU on NSSI. In this context, the present [...] Read more.
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is prevalent among adolescents. Low health literacy (HL) and problematic mobile phone use (PMPU) are risk factors of NSSI. But so far, no study has examined the interactive role of HL and PMPU on NSSI. In this context, the present study aimed to examine the interactions of HL and PMPU and their impact on NSSI in a school-based sample of Chinese adolescents. A total of 22,628 junior and high school students (10,990 males and 11,638 females) were enrolled in this study. The outcomes were self-reported HL, PMPU and NSSI. Analyses were conducted with chi-square tests and logistic regression models. The prevalence of NSSI was 32.1%. Low HL and PMPU were significantly associated with NSSI independently (ORlow HL = 1.886, 95% CI = 1.723–2.065, ORPMPU = 2.062, 95% CI = 1.934–2.199). Interaction analysis indicated that low HL and PMPU were interactively associated with increased risks of NSSI (OR = 2.617, 95% CI = 2.375–2.884). In all, our findings indicate that HL and PMPU are associated with NSSI independently and interactively. The intervention programs of NSSI should consider the adolescents HL levels and PMPU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Development and Validation of a Parent-Based Program for Preventing Gaming Disorder: The Game Over Intervention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(11), 1984; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16111984 - 04 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Since the inclusion of gaming disorder in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a condition for further study, there has been an increasing consensus that problematic gaming can be detrimental to mental health, yet efforts [...] Read more.
Since the inclusion of gaming disorder in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a condition for further study, there has been an increasing consensus that problematic gaming can be detrimental to mental health, yet efforts in preventing such problems from emerging have been limited. To address this gap, we developed the Game Over Intervention (GOI), a parent-based program designed based on the frameworks of ecological systems theory and self-determination theory. This study aimed to test the efficacy of the new program using the method of a randomized controlled trial, with the control condition being a program for effective learning. Participants were the parents of upper primary school students, with 163 (77% women; Mage = 42.70) and 199 (83% women; Mage = 41.82) partaking in the intervention and the control conditions, respectively. Participants rated their children’s gaming time, exposure to violent video games, and symptoms of gaming disorder at three time points: baseline, one week after intervention, and three months after intervention. The results indicate a general reduction in these three criteria across the three-month period. Our study provides tentative evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of the GOI in mitigating some gaming-related problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
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Open AccessArticle
COPE.er Method: Combating Digital Addiction via Online Peer Support Groups
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071162 - 31 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Digital addiction (hereafter DA) denotes a problematic relationship with technology described by being compulsive, obsessive, impulsive and hasty. New research has identified cases where users’ digital behaviour shows symptoms meeting the clinical criteria of behavioural addiction. The online peer groups approach is one [...] Read more.
Digital addiction (hereafter DA) denotes a problematic relationship with technology described by being compulsive, obsessive, impulsive and hasty. New research has identified cases where users’ digital behaviour shows symptoms meeting the clinical criteria of behavioural addiction. The online peer groups approach is one of the strategies to combat addictive behaviours. Unlike other behaviours, intervention and addictive usage can be on the same medium; the online space. This shared medium empowers influence techniques found in peer groups, such as self-monitoring, social surveillance, and personalised feedback, with a higher degree of interactivity, continuity and real-time communication. Social media platforms in general and online peer groups, in particular, have received little guidance as to how software design should take it into account. Careful theoretical understanding of the unique attributes and dynamics of such platforms and their intersection with gamification and persuasive techniques is needed as the ad-hoc design may cause unexpected harm. In this paper, we investigate how to facilitate the design process to ensure a systematic development of this technology. We conducted several qualitative studies including user studies and observational investigations. The primary contribution of this research is twofold: (i) a reference model for designing interactive online platforms to host peer groups and combat DA, (ii) a process model, COPE.er, inspired by the participatory design approach to building Customisable Online Persuasive Ecology by Engineering Rehabilitation strategies for different groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet-Related Addictions and Health)
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