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      Relationships Between Social Support, Loneliness, and Internet Addiction in Chinese Postsecondary Students: A Longitudinal Cross-Lagged Analysis


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          Using the Internet has become one of the most popular leisure activities among postsecondary students in China. Concern about the large number of students using the Internet has led to an increase in research on the influencing factors of Internet addiction and the negative consequences caused by it. This short-term longitudinal study examined the associations among three dimensions of social support [objective support (OS), subjective support (SS), and support utilization (SU)], loneliness, and the four dimensions of Internet addiction (compulsive Internet use [CIU] & withdrawal from Internet addiction [WIA], tolerance of Internet addiction [TIA], time-management problems [TMPs], and interpersonal and health problems [IHPs]) in a Chinese sample. A total of 169 postsecondary first-year students (88 girls and 81 boys; mean age = 18.31 years) participated in the study. The questionnaire measurements were taken at the beginning of the school year (T1), 6 months later (T2), and 1 year later (T3). Cross-lagged and structural equation modeling analyses indicated that (a) OS (T1) and SU (T1) negatively predicted loneliness (T2); and loneliness (T2) negatively predicted OS (T3) and SU(T3); (b) CIU & WIA (T1) and TMPs (T1) positively predicted loneliness (T2); and loneliness (T2) positively predicted CIU & WIA (T3), TIA (T3), TMP (T3), and IHP (T3); (c) SS (T1) directly affected TIA (T3) and TMP (T3); and (d) loneliness (T2) played a mediating role in the relationships between OS (T1) and CIU (T3), OS (T1) and TMP (T3), OS (T1) and IHP (T3), and SU (T1) and IHP (T3). Finally, interventions for Internet addiction and implications for future studies were discussed.

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          Most cited references92

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          A cognitive-behavioral model of pathological Internet use

          R.A. Davis (2001)
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            The MOS social support survey.

            This paper describes the development and evaluation of a brief, multidimensional, self-administered, social support survey that was developed for patients in the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS), a two-year study of patients with chronic conditions. This survey was designed to be comprehensive in terms of recent thinking about the various dimensions of social support. In addition, it was designed to be distinct from other related measures. We present a summary of the major conceptual issues considered when choosing items for the social support battery, describe the items, and present findings based on data from 2987 patients (ages 18 and older). Multitrait scaling analyses supported the dimensionality of four functional support scales (emotional/informational, tangible, affectionate, and positive social interaction) and the construction of an overall functional social support index. These support measures are distinct from structural measures of social support and from related health measures. They are reliable (all Alphas greater than 0.91), and are fairly stable over time. Selected construct validity hypotheses were supported.
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              Issues for DSM-V: internet addiction.


                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                11 September 2018
                : 9
                Department of Psychology, Shandong Normal University , Jinan, China
                Author notes

                Edited by: Claudio Longobardi, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy

                Reviewed by: Alessandro Musetti, Università degli Studi di Parma, Italy; Chryssoula Karakitsou, American College of Greece, Greece

                *Correspondence: Peng Wang, 122394108@ 123456qq.com

                Co-first authors

                This article was submitted to Educational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2018 Zhang, Tian, Sui, Zhang, Shi, Wang, Meng and Si.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 5, Equations: 0, References: 108, Pages: 13, Words: 0
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                social support,loneliness,internet addiction,longitudinal cross-lagged analysis,interventions


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