A number of risk factors for Internet addiction among adolescents have been identified to be associated with their behavior, familial, and parental factors. However, few studies have focused on the relationship between parental mental health and Internet addiction among adolescents. Therefore, we investigated the association between parental mental health and children’s Internet addiction by controlling for several risk factors.
This study used panel data collected by the Korea Welfare Panel Study in 2012 and 2015. We focused primarily on the association between Internet addiction which was assessed by the Internet Addiction Scale (IAS) and parental depression which was measured with the 11-item version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. To analyze the association between parental depression and log-transformed IAS, we conducted multiple regression analysis after adjusting for covariates.
Among 587 children, depressed mothers and fathers comprised 4.75 and 4.19%, respectively. The mean IAS score of the adolescents was 23.62 ± 4.38. Only maternal depression (β = 0.0960, p = 0.0033) showed higher IAS among children compared to nonmaternal depression. Strongly positive associations between parental depression and children’s Internet addiction were observed for high maternal education level, adolescents’ gender, and adolescent’s academic performance.
Maternal depression is related to children’s Internet addiction; particularly, mothers who had graduated from the university level or above, male children, and children’s normal or better academic performance show the strongest relationship with children’s Internet addiction.