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Authors: Daeyoung Roh, Soo-Young Bhang, Jung-Seok Choi, Yong Sil Kweon, Sang-Kyu Lee and Marc N. Potenza

Background

Potential concerns are increasing that smartphone and Internet addictions may have deleterious effects on the mental health. Despite the recognition of the important role that implicit associations may have over explicit processes in addiction, such implicit associations have not been comprehensively investigated with respect to Internet addiction. Therefore, we modified the Implicit Association Test (IAT) for smartphone and Internet addictions and investigated its validity in children and adolescents.

Methods

In this experimental study, 78 at-risk children and adolescents ranging in age from 7 to 17 years completed an IAT modified with pictures captured from the most popular Internet games among youth. Furthermore, measures of Internet and smartphone addictions, mental health and problem behaviors, impulsive tendencies, self-esteem, daily stress, and quality of life were assessed simultaneously.

Results

Significant correlations were found between IAT D2SD scores and standardized scales for Internet (r = .28, p < .05) and smartphone (r = .33, p < .01) addictions. There were no significant correlations between IAT parameters and other scales measuring the constructs that are less relevant to the features of addiction, such as daily stress levels, impulsivity, and quality of life. Multiple regression analysis revealed that the IAT D2SD was independently and positively associated with smartphone addiction (p = .03) after controlling for other clinical correlates.

Conclusions

This study demonstrated good convergent and discriminant validity of this IAT as a novel measurement relating to Internet and smartphone addictions. Further longitudinal and prospective studies are needed to evaluate its potential utility in clinical and community settings.

Open access
Authors: Yeong Seon Jo, Soo Young Bhang, Jung-Seok Choi, Hae Kook Lee, Seung Yup Lee and Yong-Sil Kweon

Abstract

Background and aim

Whereas many studies on Internet gaming disorder (IGD) have used self-report questionnaires, only a few have adopted clinical interviews and samples. The current study aimed at using data from face-to-face diagnostic interviews, based on the criteria for IGD in the DSM-5, to determine the Internet, gaming, and smartphone usage patterns of children and adolescents.

Methods

A latent class analysis was conducted using data collected through diagnostic interviews for Internet, gaming, and smartphone addiction with 190 participants (M = 13.14 years, SD = 2.46; 143 boys, 47 girls) who were part of a multicenter clinical cohort study.

Results

Participants were classified into four groups: pleasure-seeking (Class 1), internal-use (Class 2), problematic-use (Class 3), and pathological-use (Class 4). The pleasure-seeking group (8.11%) showed low tendencies in general and proper control. The internal-use group (17.63%) showed significant increases in “cognitive salience” and “craving,” with strong internal desires. The problematic-use group (37.28%) had no “interference with role performance”; however, they displayed “difficulty regulating use” and “persistent use despite negative consequences,” with a slight functional impairment. The pathological-use group (36.98%) scored the highest on all these items, revealing a severe functional impairment. Compared to the other groups, the pathological-use group had the highest depression and daily stress levels and displayed the lowest levels of happiness.

Conclusions

This study provides basic data to elucidate Internet, gaming, and smartphone overuse patterns among children and adolescents, which could be used to develop differentiated intervention strategies for each group.

Open access
Authors: Seung-Yup Lee, Donghwan Lee, Cho Rong Nam, Da Yea Kim, Sera Park, Jun-Gun Kwon, Yong-Sil Kweon, Youngjo Lee, Dai Jin Kim and Jung-Seok Choi

Background and objectives

The ubiquitous Internet connections by smartphones weakened the traditional boundaries between computers and mobile phones. We sought to explore whether smartphone-related problems differ from those of computer use according to gender using latent class analysis (LCA).

Methods

After informed consents, 555 Korean middle-school students completed surveys on gaming, Internet use, and smartphone usage patterns. They also completed various psychosocial instruments. LCA was performed for the whole group and by gender. In addition to ANOVA and χ2 tests, post-hoc tests were conducted to examine differences among the LCA subgroups.

Results

In the whole group (n = 555), four subtypes were identified: dual-problem users (49.5%), problematic Internet users (7.7%), problematic smartphone users (32.1%), and “healthy” users (10.6%). Dual-problem users scored highest for addictive behaviors and other psychopathologies. The gender-stratified LCA revealed three subtypes for each gender. With dual-problem and healthy subgroup as common, problematic Internet subgroup was classified in the males, whereas problematic smartphone subgroup was classified in the females in the gender-stratified LCA. Thus, distinct patterns were observed according to gender with higher proportion of dual-problem present in males. While gaming was associated with problematic Internet use in males, aggression and impulsivity demonstrated associations with problematic smartphone use in females.

Conclusions

An increase in the number of digital media-related problems was associated with worse outcomes in various psychosocial scales. Gaming may play a crucial role in males solely displaying Internet-related problems. The heightened impulsivity and aggression seen in our female problematic smartphone users requires further research.

Open access