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The relationship between Internet addiction and depression among migrant children and left-behind children in China

Jing Guo, Li Chen, Xiaohua Wang, Yan Liu, Cheryl Hiu Kwan Chui, Huan He, Zhiyong Qu, Donghua Tian
Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking 2012, 15 (11): 585-90
With greater Internet availability, the pathological use of the Internet has become an emerging mental health issue among adolescents in China. The objective of this study was to examine the associations between Internet addiction and depression in migrant children (MC) and left-behind children (LBC). The present study was conducted using a cross-sectional design with 3,254 participants (8-17-years old), which included 1143 LBC, 574 MC, and 1287 nonleft-behind rural children (RC) from 12 schools. Young's 8-item Internet Addiction Scale was used to assess Internet dependency. The Children's Depression Inventory-Short Form was used to measure child depression. The results showed that the prevalence of depression was 10.9 percent among RC, 19.7 percent among MC, and 14.3 percent among LBC. The prevalence of Internet addiction was 3.7 percent among RC, and was 6.4 percent among MC and 3.2 percent among LBC. Depression was effected by the interaction between types of children and Internet addiction. LBC with Internet addiction (odds ratio [OR], 2.780; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.237-6.248), MC with Internet addiction (OR, 2.922; 95 percent CI, 1.116-7.652), and MC with no Internet addiction (OR, 2.735; 95 percent CI, 1.974-3.789) had higher risks of depression than that for RC with no-Internet addiction. The results indicated that Internet addiction might be associated with an increased risk of depression in LBC, and migration was an important risk factor for child depression.


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