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  • Author or Editor: Ronnie Jia x
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Abstract

Background and aims: Prior research on Internet dependency has examined various individual traits as contributing factors. Since domain-specific traits tend to have higher abilities to explain outcome variables, this study investigates a technology-related specific trait, i.e., computer playfulness, as a predictor of Internet dependency, and their influence on Internet usage patterns and academic performance. Methods: A sample of 267 college students was surveyed to examine these relationships. In addition to demographic information, the questionnaire contained measurement scales to assess playfulness, Internet dependency as well as work/study-related and social-related uses of the Internet. Results: Survey data indicate that playfulness significantly predicts Internet dependency (ΔR 2 = 19%). Playfulness is also significantly related to students’ grade point average (p <.001), as well as Internet use for social purposes (p <.022), and its impacts are fully mediated by Internet dependency. It was also found that neither playfulness nor Internet dependency is significantly associated with Internet use for work/study purposes. Conclusions: Playfulness, as a domain-specific individual trait, is a powerful predictor of Internet dependency, which is positively related to social use of the Internet, and negatively related to student academic performance.

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Background and aims

Prior research has generally established parental attachment as a predictor of problematic Internet use (PIU). However, findings across studies are inconsistent as to which factor(s) of attachment style (i.e., attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance) contributes to PIU. Another gap in the literature is that as most studies highlight the importance of maternal (over paternal) attachment security in inhibiting PIU, little research has examined the possibility of a gender difference, where maternal and paternal attachment securities may exert different influences on males and females.

Methods

An anonymous survey was completed by 243 undergraduate students in a public university in the U.S. Midwest. In addition to demographic information, the survey contained measurement scales to assess PIU and parental attachment (both maternal and paternal).

Results

Survey data show that (a) attachment anxiety, but not attachment avoidance, is significantly related to PIU and (b) gender significantly moderates this relationship, where paternal attachment anxiety leads to PIU in female students while maternal attachment anxiety contributes to PIU in male students.

Conclusions

This study deepens our understanding in the relationship between family upbringing, particularly parental attachment, and PIU. More specifically, attachment anxiety is found to be a significant predictor of PIU, but attachment avoidance is not. Also, contributing to the research literature is the finding of a significant gender effect in this relationship.

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