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      Internet addiction and psychological distress among Chinese schoolchildren before and during the COVID-19 outbreak: A latent class analysis


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          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).


          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).


          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.


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

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          Most cited references68

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          The Fear of COVID-19 Scale: Development and Initial Validation

          Background The emergence of the COVID-19 and its consequences has led to fears, worries, and anxiety among individuals worldwide. The present study developed the Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S) to complement the clinical efforts in preventing the spread and treating of COVID-19 cases. Methods The sample comprised 717 Iranian participants. The items of the FCV-19S were constructed based on extensive review of existing scales on fears, expert evaluations, and participant interviews. Several psychometric tests were conducted to ascertain its reliability and validity properties. Results After panel review and corrected item-total correlation testing, seven items with acceptable corrected item-total correlation (0.47 to 0.56) were retained and further confirmed by significant and strong factor loadings (0.66 to 0.74). Also, other properties evaluated using both classical test theory and Rasch model were satisfactory on the seven-item scale. More specifically, reliability values such as internal consistency (α = .82) and test–retest reliability (ICC = .72) were acceptable. Concurrent validity was supported by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (with depression, r = 0.425 and anxiety, r = 0.511) and the Perceived Vulnerability to Disease Scale (with perceived infectability, r = 0.483 and germ aversion, r = 0.459). Conclusion The Fear of COVID-19 Scale, a seven-item scale, has robust psychometric properties. It is reliable and valid in assessing fear of COVID-19 among the general population and will also be useful in allaying COVID-19 fears among individuals.
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            A Protection Motivation Theory of Fear Appeals and Attitude Change1

            A protection motivation theory is proposed that postulates the three crucial components of a fear appeal to be (a) the magnitude of noxiousness of a depicted event; (b) the probability of that event's occurrence; and (c) the efficacy of a protective response. Each of these communication variables initiates corresponding cognitive appraisal processes that mediate attitude change. The proposed conceptualization is a special case of a more comprehensive theoretical schema: expectancy-value theories. Several suggestions are offered for reinterpreting existing data, designing new types of empirical research, and making future studies more comparable. Finally, the principal advantages of protection motivation theory over the rival formulations of Janis and Leventhal are discussed.
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              A ‘components’ model of addiction within a biopsychosocial framework


                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                05 October 2021
                15 September 2021
                : 10
                : 3
                : 731-746
                [1 ] Chinese Academy of Education Big Data, Qufu Normal University , Qufu, China
                [2 ] School of Physical Therapy and Graduate Institute of Rehabilitation Science, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University , Taoyuan, Taiwan
                [3 ] Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Research Center of Clinical Medicine, National Cheng Kung University Hospital , Tainan, Taiwan
                [4 ] Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University , Hung Hom, Hong Kong
                [5 ] International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology Department, Nottingham Trent University , Nottingham, UK
                [6 ] Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei Medical University , Taipei, Taiwan
                [7 ] Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University , Taipei, Taiwan
                [8 ] Institute of Allied Health Sciences, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University , Tainan, Taiwan
                [9 ] Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University , Tainan, Taiwan
                [10 ] Department of Public Health, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University , Tainan, Taiwan
                [11 ] Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Research Institute for Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences , Qazvin 3419759811, Iran
                [12 ] Department of Nursing, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University , Jönköping, Sweden
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. E-mail: cylin36933@ 123456gmail.com

                I-H Chen and C-Y Chen contributed equally as the first authors.

                Author information
                © 2021 The Author(s)

                Open Access. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                : 29 October 2020
                : 28 April 2021
                : 10 July 2021
                : 10 July 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 5, Equations: 0, References: 69, Pages: 16
                Funded by: National Cheng Kung University (NCKU)
                Funded by: Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital Cross-Institutions
                Award ID: 110-swf-01

                Medicine,Psychology,Social & Behavioral Sciences,Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                COVID-19,problematic social media use,problematic gaming,psychological distress,problematic smartphone use


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