Background: The aims of this study were to identify the independent factors associated with intermittent addiction and addiction to the Internet and to examine the psychiatric symptoms in Korean adolescents when the demographic and Internet-related factors were controlled.
Methods: Male and female students (N = 912) in the 7th-12th grades were recruited from 2 junior high schools and 2 academic senior high schools located in Seoul, South Korea. Data were collected from November to December 2004 using the Internet-Related Addiction Scale and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revision. A total of 851 subjects were analyzed after excluding the subjects who provided incomplete data.
Results: Approximately 30% (n = 258) and 4.3% (n = 37) of subjects showed intermittent Internet addiction and Internet addiction, respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that junior high school students and students having a longer period of Internet use were significantly associated with intermittent addiction. In addition, male gender, chatting, and longer Internet use per day were significantly associated with Internet addiction. When the demographic and Internet-related factors were controlled, obsessive-compulsive and depressive symptoms were found to be independently associated factors for intermittent addiction and addiction to the Internet, respectively.
Conclusions: Staff working in junior or senior high schools should pay closer attention to those students who have the risk factors for intermittent addiction and addiction to the Internet. Early preventive intervention programs are needed that consider the individual severity level of Internet addiction.