Prevalence and predictors of the persistence and incidence of adolescent internet addiction in Mainland China : A two-year longitudinal study

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Original languageEnglish
Article number107039
Journal / PublicationAddictive Behaviors
Online published1 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


Internet addiction (IA), which can have different development patterns, is considered a serious problem among adolescents. Due to the increasing number of adolescent internet users in Mainland China, professionals are obligated to investigate the prevalence and predictors of IA persistence and incidence. This study investigated the prevalence of IA persistence and incidence among 1301 students in Mainland China across two years using a two-wave longitudinal design. Of the 187 students with IA in 7th grade, 40.64% had a persisting addiction by grade 9. Of the 1114 students without an IA in 7th grade, 10.32% had developed an IA by grade 9. Multilevel logistic regression analyses indicated that higher levels of depressive symptoms (odds ratio = 1.04; p = .04) and maternal education (odds ratio = 2.23; p = .01) could increase the likelihood of IA persistence. Significant predictors of IA incidence were being male (odds ratio = 0.59; p = .03), being an only child (odds ratio = 1.91; p = .01), having a low family income (odds ratio = 1.21; p < .001), and experiencing school maladjustment (odds ratio = 1.01; p < .01).

Research Area(s)

  • Adolescent, China, Incidence, Internet addiction, Persistence