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Background and aims

Research examining problematic mobile phone use has increased markedly over the past 5 years and has been related to “no mobile phone phobia” (so-called nomophobia). The 20-item Nomophobia Questionnaire (NMP-Q) is the only instrument that assesses nomophobia with an underlying theoretical structure and robust psychometric testing. This study aimed to confirm the construct validity of the Persian NMP-Q using Rasch and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) models.

Methods

After ensuring the linguistic validity, Rasch models were used to examine the unidimensionality of each Persian NMP-Q factor among 3,216 Iranian adolescents and CFAs were used to confirm its four-factor structure. Differential item functioning (DIF) and multigroup CFA were used to examine whether males and females interpreted the NMP-Q similarly, including item content and NMP-Q structure.

Results

Each factor was unidimensional according to the Rach findings, and the four-factor structure was supported by CFA. Two items did not quite fit the Rasch models (Item 14: “I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me;” Item 9: “If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it”). No DIF items were found across gender and measurement invariance was supported in multigroup CFA across gender.

Conclusions

Due to the satisfactory psychometric properties, it is concluded that the Persian NMP-Q can be used to assess nomophobia among adolescents. Moreover, NMP-Q users may compare its scores between genders in the knowledge that there are no score differences contributed by different understandings of NMP-Q items.

Open access

Background and aims

The nine-item Internet Gaming Disorder Scale – Short Form (IGDS-SF9) is brief and effective to evaluate Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) severity. Although its scores show promising psychometric properties, less is known about whether different groups of gamers interpret the items similarly. This study aimed to verify the construct validity of the Persian IGDS-SF9 and examine the scores in relation to gender and hours spent online gaming among 2,363 Iranian adolescents.

Methods

Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Rasch analysis were used to examine the construct validity of the IGDS-SF9. The effects of gender and time spent online gaming per week were investigated by multigroup CFA and Rasch differential item functioning (DIF).

Results

The unidimensionality of the IGDS-SF9 was supported in both CFA and Rasch. However, Item 4 (fail to control or cease gaming activities) displayed DIF (DIF contrast = 0.55) slightly over the recommended cutoff in Rasch but was invariant in multigroup CFA across gender. Items 4 (DIF contrast = −0.67) and 9 (jeopardize or lose an important thing because of gaming activity; DIF contrast = 0.61) displayed DIF in Rasch and were non-invariant in multigroup CFA across time spent online gaming.

Conclusions

Given the Persian IGDS-SF9 was unidimensional, it is concluded that the instrument can be used to assess IGD severity. However, users of the instrument are cautioned concerning the comparisons of the sum scores of the IGDS-SF9 across gender and across adolescents spending different amounts of time online gaming.

Open access

Background and aims

Social media use has become increasingly popular among Internet users. Given the widespread use of social media on smartphones, there is an increasing need for research examining the impact of the use of such technologies on sexual relationships and their constructs such as intimacy, satisfaction, and sexual function. However, little is known about the underlying mechanism why social media addiction impacts on sexual distress. This study investigated whether two constructs (intimacy and perceived social support) were mediators in the association of social media addiction and sexual distress among married women.

Methods

A prospective study was conducted where all participants (N = 938; mean age = 36.5 years) completed the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale to assess social media addiction, the Female Sexual Distress Scale – Revised to assess sexual distress, the Unidimensional Relationship Closeness Scale to assess intimacy, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support to assess perceived social support.

Results

The results showed that social media addiction had direct and indirect (via intimacy and perceived social support) effects on sexual function and sexual distress.

Discussion and conclusions

The findings of this study facilitate a better understanding of how problematic engaging to social media can affect couples’ intimacy, perceived social support, and constructs of sexual function. Consequently, sexual counseling should be considered an essential element for assessing individual behaviors in the context of social media use.

Open access

Background and aims

The Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS), a six-item self-report scale that is a brief and effective psychometric instrument for assessing at-risk social media addiction on the Internet. However, its psychometric properties in Persian have never been examined and no studies have applied Rasch analysis for the psychometric testing. This study aimed to verify the construct validity of the Persian BSMAS using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Rasch models among 2,676 Iranian adolescents.

Methods

In addition to construct validity, measurement invariance in CFA and differential item functioning (DIF) in Rasch analysis across gender were tested for in the Persian BSMAS.

Results

Both CFA [comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.993; Tucker–Lewis index (TLI) = 0.989; root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.057; standardized root mean square residual (SRMR) = 0.039] and Rasch (infit MnSq = 0.88–1.28; outfit MnSq = 0.86–1.22) confirmed the unidimensionality of the BSMAS. Moreover, measurement invariance was supported in multigroup CFA including metric invariance (ΔCFI = −0.001; ΔSRMR = 0.003; ΔRMSEA = −0.005) and scalar invariance (ΔCFI = −0.002; ΔSRMR = 0.005; ΔRMSEA = 0.001) across gender. No item displayed DIF (DIF contrast = −0.48 to 0.24) in Rasch across gender.

Conclusions

Given the Persian BSMAS was unidimensional, it is concluded that the instrument can be used to assess how an adolescent is addicted to social media on the Internet. Moreover, users of the instrument may comfortably compare the sum scores of the BSMAS across gender.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Chung-Ying Lin, Maryam Ganji, Halley M. Pontes, Vida Imani, Anders Broström, Mark D. Griffiths, and Amir H. Pakpour

Background and aims

Given the growing epidemiological research interest concerning Internet addiction, brief instruments with a robust theoretical basis are warranted. The Internet Disorder Scale (IDS-15) is one such instrument that can be used to quickly assess the Internet addiction in an individual. However, only two language versions of the IDS-15 have been developed. This study translated the IDS-15 into Persian and examined its psychometric properties using comprehensive psychometric testing.

Methods

After ensuring the linguistic validity of the Persian IDS-15, 1,272 adolescents (mean age = 15.53 years; 728 males) completed the IDS-15, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS), Internet Gaming Disorder Scale – Short Form (IGDS9-SF), and the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), Rasch models, regression analysis, and latent profile analysis (LPA) were carried out to test the psychometric properties of the Persian IDS-15.

Results

Both CFA and Rasch supported the construct validity of the Persian IDS-15. Multigroup analysis in CFA and differential item functioning in Rasch indicated that male and female adolescents interpreted the IDS-15 items similarly. Regression analysis showed that the IDS-15 correlated with IGDS9-SF and BSMAS (ΔR 2 = .12 and .36, respectively) is stronger than the DASS (ΔR 2 = .03–.05). LPA based on IDS-15 suggests three subgroups for the sample. Significant differences in depression, anxiety, IGDS9-SF, and BSMAS were found among the three LPA subgroups.

Conclusion

The Persian IDS-15 has robust psychometric properties as evidenced by both classical test theory and Rasch analysis.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Patients with schizophrenia are known to use potentially addictive psychoactive substances as self-medication and to ease psychological distress. Other potentially addictive behaviors such as online gaming are also used to self-medicate and ease psychological distress. However, the role of online gaming and problematic gaming (in the form of internet gaming disorder [IGD]) has not previously been investigated for patients with schizophrenia facing distress.

Methods

One hundred and four participants diagnosed with schizophrenia were recruited and completed a number of psychometric scales including the Personal and Social Performance Scale (PSPS), Internet Gaming Disorder Scale-Short Form (IGDS-SF9), Self-Stigma Scale-Short (SSS-S), and Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS-21).

Results

The results showed significant negative associations between PSPS, IGDS-SF9, and DASS-21, and significant positive correlations between the IGDS-SF-9, SSS-S and DASS-21. Moreover, IGD did not mediate the association between self-stigma and depression. However, IGD significantly mediated the association between self-stigma and anxiety, and the association between self-stigma and stress. In addition, (i) age and self-stigma were significant predictors for IGD; (ii) social function and self-stigma were significant predictors for depression; (iii) social function, self-stigma, and IGD were significant predictors for anxiety; and (iv) self-stigma and IGD were significant predictors for stress.

Conclusion

The findings suggest that online gaming may be a coping strategy for individuals with schizophrenia with psychological stress and self-stigma and that for some of these individuals, their gaming may be problematic.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

The literature has proposed two types of problematic smartphone/internet use: generalized problematic use and specific problematic use. However, longitudinal findings on the associations between the two types of problematic use and psychological distress are lacking among East-Asians. The present study examined temporal associations between both generalized and specific problematic use of the smartphone/internet, and psychological distress.

Methods

Hong Kong University students (N = 308; 100 males; mean age = 23.75 years; SD ± 5.15) were recruited with follow-ups at three, six, and nine months after baseline assessment. All participants completed the Smartphone Application-Based Addiction Scale (for generalized problematic smartphone/internet use), the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (for specific problematic smartphone/internet use), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (for psychological distress) in each assessment. Latent growth modeling (LGM) was constructed to understand temporal associations between generalized/specific problematic use and psychological distress.

Results

The LGM suggested that the intercept of generalized problematic use was significantly associated with the intercept of psychological distress (standardized coefficient [β] = 0.32; P < 0.01). The growth of generalized problematic use was significantly associated with the growth of psychological distress (β = 0.51; P < 0.01). Moreover, the intercept of specific problematic use was significantly associated with the intercept of psychological distress (β = 0.28; P < 0.01) and the growth of psychological distress (β = 0.37; P < 0.01).

Conclusion

The initial level of problematic use of smartphone/internet increased the psychological distress among university students. Helping young adults address problematic use of the smartphone/internet may prevent psychological distress.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: I-Hua Chen, Chao-Ying Chen, Chieh-hsiu Liu, Daniel Kwasi Ahorsu, Mark D. Griffiths, Yu-Pin Chen, Yi-Jie Kuo, Chung-Ying Lin, Amir H. Pakpour, and Shu-Mei Wang

Abstract

Background and aims

The present longitudinal study examined the changes in problematic internet use (problematic smartphone use, problematic social media use, and problematic gaming) and changes in COVID-19-related psychological distress (fear of COVID-19 and worry concerning COVID-19) across three time-points (before the COVID-19 outbreak, during the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, and during the COVID-19 outbreak recovery period).

Methods

A total of 504 Chinese schoolchildren completed measures concerning problematic internet use and psychological distress across three time-points. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to classify participants into three groups of problematic internet use comprising Group 1 (lowest level), Group 2 (moderate level), and Group 3 (highest level).

Results

Statistical analyses showed that as problematic use of internet-related activities declined among Group 3 participants across the three time points, participants in Group 1 and Group 2 had increased problematic use of internet-related activities. Although there was no between-group difference in relation to worrying concerning COVID-19 infection, Groups 2 and 3 had significantly higher levels of fear of COVID-19 than Group 1 during the COVID-19 recovery period. Regression analysis showed that change in problematic internet use predicted fear of COVID-19 during the recovery period.

Conclusion

The varied levels of problematic internet use among schoolchildren reflect different changing trends of additive behaviors during COVID-19 outbreak and recovery periods.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Kun-Chia Chang, Yun-Husan Chang, Cheng-Fang Yen, Jung-Sheng Chen, Po-Jen Chen, Chung-Ying Lin, Mark D. Griffiths, Marc N. Potenza, and Amir H. Pakpour

Abstract

Background and aims

Individuals with schizophrenia may often experience poor sleep, self-stigma, impaired social functions, and problematic smartphone use. However, the temporal relationships between these factors have not been investigated. The present study used a longitudinal design to examine potential mediating roles of poor sleep and self-stigma in associations between problematic smartphone use and impaired social functions among individuals with schizophrenia.

Methods

From April 2019 to August 2021, 193 individuals with schizophrenia (mean [SD] age = 41.34 [9.01] years; 88 [45.6%] males) were recruited and asked to complete three psychometric scales: the Smartphone Application-Based Addiction Scale to assess problematic smartphone use; the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index to assess sleep quality; and the Self-Stigma Scale-Short Scale to assess self-stigma. Social functioning was evaluated by a psychiatrist using the Personal and Social Performance Scale. All measures were assessed five times (one baseline and four follow-ups) at three-month intervals between assessments.

Results

General estimating equations found that problematic smartphone use (coefficient = −0.096, SE = 0.021; P < 0.001), sleep quality (coefficient = −0.134, SE = 0.038; P < 0.001), and self-stigma (coefficient = −0.612, SE = 0.192; P = 0.001) were significant statistical predictors for social functioning. Moreover, sleep quality and self-stigma mediated associations between problematic smartphone use and social functioning.

Conclusion

Problematic smartphone use appears to impact social functioning longitudinally among individuals with schizophrenia via poor sleep and self-stigma concerns. Interventions aimed at reducing problematic smartphone use, improving sleep, and addressing self-stigma may help improve social functioning among individuals with schizophrenia.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), policies based on the nature of “spatial distancing” have been implemented and have resulted in school suspensions and online learning among schoolchildren. In order to examine the impact of such policies on schoolchildren, the aims of the present study were to (i) assess changes in the level of engagement in three internet-related activities (smartphone use, social media use, and gaming) before and during the COVID-19 outbreak, including prolonged and problematic engagement in these activities; (ii) investigate the differences of psychological distress before and after COVID-19 outbreak; and (iii) to use structural equation modeling to investigate the mediating roles of problematic internet-related behaviors in the causal relationships of psychological distress and time spent on internet-related activities.

Methods

Self-report measures were used to assess internet-related activities and psychological distress. Time spent on internet-related activities, problematic use of internet-related activities, and psychological distress were collected from primary school students (N = 535; 265 boys; M age = 10.32 years [SD = 0.84]). The data were first collected before the COVID-19 outbreak (i.e., early November 2019) and then collected again during the school suspension due to COVID-19 outbreak (i.e., end of March 2020) for comparisons of changes.

Results

Schoolchildren spent significantly more time on the smartphone (increased 1.02 h daily; P < 0.001) and social media (increased 0.73 h daily; P < 0.001) but not gaming (increased 0.14 h daily; P = 0.07) during the school suspension compared to the baseline. Schoolchildren who increased by 15 or 30 min daily on internet-related activities showed an increased level of psychological distress. The association between problematic use of social media and psychological distress was stronger during the school suspension (β = 0.584) than at the baseline (β = 0.451; P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Increased problematic use of internet-related activities among schoolchildren was associated with greater psychological distress. Parents should therefore monitor internet-related activities and psychological distress of their children to support their mental health.

Open access