Associations between Parental Problematic Internet Use and their children’s Mental Health: A parent-child dyad Study

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Advances in Psychology Research, 2016, 115 pp. 95 - 106
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Background: Effect of parental Problematic Internet Use (PIU) on their children had never been studied until recently. This study aimed to examine possible influence of parental PIU on the mental health of their children. Methods: This was a population-based parent-and-child dyad cross-sectional study utilising a cluster random sampling technique with children aged between 13-17 years. PIU for both parents and their children was measured by the Internet Addiction Test (IAT). Mental health status, and stress level of children were assessed using the Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS). Data were analysed using logistic regression modelling techniques to examine the relationship between parental PIU and child’s mental health status. Results: Of the 1098 parent-and-child dyads, 263 (24.0%) students and 62 (5.7%) parents could be classified as moderate and severe users. About 19% (n = 209) and 23% (n = 251) of children exhibited moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety respectively. Logistic regression analysis results suggested a significant interaction between parental PIU and children’s stress level on child depression. Stratified regression analyses by stress level resulted in a significant relationship between parental PIU and depression in the low stress group (OR = 2.16, 95% C.I. = 1.05-4.43). On the other hand, the association between parental PIU and depression in the high stress group, as well as anxiety became insignificant.
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