Yonghong Zhang, Zhihan Yang contributed equally to this work.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
YZ, ZY and WD conducted and coordinated the study. WD, ZY and YZ performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript. YZ and XT contributed critical comments on the manuscript. FGan, FW, JW, YW, and FGuo collected the data with the other authors. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
Pathological Internet Use (PIU) has become a global issue associated with the increasing number of Internet users. Previous studies concerned both the interpersonal and intrapersonal vulnerable factors and the corresponding models. However, a limited amount of research has explored the relationship between positive factors and PIU.
The current investigation attempted to clarify the relationship between virtues and PIU among Chinese adolescents; it also sought to explore the specific contributions of the three virtues. Virtue was the core concept in positive psychology and the Values in Action Classification. A recent study demonstrated that there might be three universal virtues (relationship, vitality, and conscientiousness).
A cross-sectional sample of adolescents aged 12-17 years were recruited in 2013. A total of 674 adolescents (males = 302, females = 372; junior high school = 296, senior high school = 378) from eight junior and senior high schools in four provinces of Mainland China completed a package of psychological inventories, including the Chinese Virtues Questionnaire (CVQ) and the Adolescent Pathological Internet Use Scale (APIUS). The mean age of the current sample was 15.10 years (SD = 1.81) with an average of 5.31 years’ length (SD = 2.09) of Internet use.
A total of 9.50% participants exhibited significant symptoms of PIU. Male students (Mmale = 2.50) had significantly higher scores on PIU than female students (Mfemale = 2.25). Relationship (β = -.24) and conscientiousness (β = -.21) negatively predicted PIU, whereas vitality (β = .25) positively predicted PIU. Dominance analysis further revealed that relationship and conscientiousness could explain 81% variance of PIU, and vitality only accounted for another 19%.
Relationship and conscientiousness were possible protective factors of pathological Internet users, while vitality was vulnerable. The results could be helpful in screening “at-risk” Internet users (low relationship and conscientiousness as well as high vitality). Future intervention strategies could focus on how to enhance relationship and conscientiousness and on how to reduce vitality.
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- A preliminary investigation on the relationship between virtues and pathological internet use among Chinese adolescents
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