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      Prevalence of Internet Addiction during the COVID-19 Outbreak and Its Risk Factors among Junior High School Students in Taiwan

      research-article
      International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
      MDPI
      adolescents, COVID-19, internet addiction, prevalence, risk factors

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          Abstract

          The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has significantly disrupted normal activities globally. During this epidemic, people around the world were expected to encounter several mental health challenges. In particular, Internet addiction may become a serious issue among teens. Consequently, this study aimed to examine the prevalence of Internet addiction and identify the psychosocial risk factors during the COVID-19 outbreak. This study was constructed using a cross-sectional design with 1060 participants recruited from among junior high school students around Taiwan using stratified and cluster sampling methods. Taiwan’s first COVID-19 case was diagnosed on 28 January 2020. New cases exploded rapidly in February, and as a result, participants were surveyed during March 2 through 27 March 2020. The prevalence of Internet addiction was found to be 24.4% during this period. High impulsivity, high virtual social support, older in age, low subjective well-being, low family function, and high alexithymia was all independently predictive in the forward logistic regression analyses. The prevalence rate of Internet addiction was high among junior high school students during the COVID-19 outbreak. Results from this study can be used to help mental health organizations and educational agencies design programs that will help prevent Internet addiction in adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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          Most cited references66

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          The twenty-item Toronto Alexithymia scale—I. Item selection and cross-validation of the factor structure

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            An investigation of mental health status of children and adolescents in China during the outbreak of COVID-19

            Highlight • Children and adolescents who are often neglected in the wake of the outbreak were taken as subjects to investigate their mental health status and analyze the related influencing factors during the global pandemic of COVOID-19. • The presence of clinical depressive symptoms, resident in urban regions, implementation of the precaution and control measures, being female, having a family member or friend infected with coronavirus were associated with increased levels of anxiety. • Smartphone addiction, Internet addiction, resident in Hubei province and urban areas, family members or friends infected with coronavirus, graduation affected by the epidemic, levels of separation anxiety, physical injury fear, and tendency to adopt an emotion-focused coping style were associated with increased levels of respondents’ depressive symptoms. • It's urgent to concern and address emotional distress for children and adolescents during the epidemic. Targeted intervention measures could be formulated based on the significant influencing factors on anxiety and clinical depressive symptoms.
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              Personality, culture, and subjective well-being: emotional and cognitive evaluations of life.

              Subjective well-being (SWB), people's emotional and cognitive evaluations of their lives, includes what lay people call happiness, peace, fulfillment, and life satisfaction. Personality dispositions such as extraversion, neuroticism, and self-esteem can markedly influence levels of SWB. Although personality can explain a significant amount of the variability in SWB, life circumstances also influence long-term levels. Cultural variables explain differences in mean levels of SWB and appear to be due to objective factors such as wealth, to norms dictating appropriate feelings and how important SWB is considered to be, and to the relative approach versus avoidance tendencies of societies. Culture can also moderate which variables most influence SWB. Although it is challenging to assess SWB across societies, the measures have some degree of cross-cultural validity. Although nations can be evaluated by their levels of SWB, there are still many open questions in this area.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                18 November 2020
                November 2020
                : 17
                : 22
                : 8547
                Affiliations
                Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei 10610, Taiwan; lmmpp@ 123456ntnu.edu.tw
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2209-1025
                Article
                ijerph-17-08547
                10.3390/ijerph17228547
                7698622
                33218018
                ce4135a5-50ab-4f7d-b86f-3a8be6ea4b49
                © 2020 by the author.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 14 September 2020
                : 13 November 2020
                Categories
                Article

                Public health
                adolescents,covid-19,internet addiction,prevalence,risk factors
                Public health
                adolescents, covid-19, internet addiction, prevalence, risk factors

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