Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)

Regency Ballroom Wings (Omni Shoreham)

Testing the Autogressive Cross-Lagged Effects between Adolescents' Internet Addiction and Communication with Parents : Multigroup Analysis across Gender

Sehee Hong, PhD, Yonsei university, Minsun Park, BA, Yonsei university, and Wonjung Kim, BA, Yonsei university.

Purpose: Internet addiction has become a social problem among adolescents. Many studies suggest that adolescent internet addiction is related with no or negative communication with parents. However, most studies in this field tested the effects of communication with parents on internet addiction with an 'untested' assumption that communication with parents (i.e., no or negative communication) causes internet addiction. Furthermore, despite its theoretical and practical significance, there are only a few longitudinal studies on this topic. Most research on causal ordering of internet addiction and communication with parents is drawn from cross-sectional analysis. Using a 3-wave longitudinal dataset, this study examined the longitudinal causal relationship between the two constructs to determine whether communication with parents influenced the subsequent internet addiction, or, internet addiction influenced the subsequent communication with parents, or both.

Methods : Total 3,020 of Middle and high school students in Korea were randomly selected. To measure internet addiction and communication with parents, the internet addiction scale (K-scale) and communication with parents scale(by Barnes&Olson, 1982) were used respectively. Autoregressive Cross-Lagged modeling (ACLM) based on structural equation modeling was performed to test the longitudinal reciprocal relationship between the two constructs. This method is appropriate for studying the causal direction when two variables have a reciprocal (or nonrecursive) relationship. For ACLM, a computer program AMOS was used.

Results : This study aims to advance the research on internet addiction and communication with parents by addressing the reciprocal, longitudinal, and gender variation issues related to this topic. Specifically, our research questions are as follows: First, what is the causal directional relationship between internet addiction and communication with parents? How does this relationship change across time? Second, does the longitudinal relationship between internet addiction and communication with parents differ across gender? ACLM results showed that there was a significant influence of communication with parents (i.e., no or negative communication) on the subsequent internet addiction, rather than vice versa. The causal pattern was stable across time. According to multigroup ACLM analysis, no gender differences were found in the relationship between two constructs.

Implication : Internet addiction among adolescents were found to be significantly influenced by a pattern of communication with parents. The results suggest that intervention programs for internet addiction should focus on improving positive communication with parents or reducing factors producing negative communication.