Longitudinal psychosocial factors related to symptoms of Internet addiction among adults in early midlife

Chenshu Zhang, Judith S. Brook, Carl G. Leukefeld, David W. Brook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In this longitudinal study, we applied structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the psychosocial factors from adolescence to adulthood as related to symptoms of Internet addiction (IA) during early midlife. We gathered longitudinal data on a prospective cohort of community-dwelling men and women (N = 548) followed from adolescence to early midlife (mean age = 43; SD = 2.8). The findings supported a meditational model: adolescent (mean age = 16) conflictual parent-child relationship was associated with internalizing problem behaviors at mean age 21 in emerging adulthood (b = 0.13, p < 0.01), which, in turn, were associated with both alcohol/drug use problems at mean age 27-32 (b = 0.24, p < 0.001) and affective disorders at mean age 37 (b = 0.29, p < 0.001), which, ultimately, were associated with symptoms of IA in early midlife (b = 0.23, p < 0.01; b = 0.21, p < 0.05, respectively). In addition, alcohol/drug use problems were associated with affective disorders (b = 0.22, p < 0.05). Among the constructs, alcohol/drug use problems had the greatest total effects on symptoms of IA in early midlife (b = 0.28, p < 0.001). Findings suggest that family therapy focused on an increase in the affectionate relationship between the adolescent and his/her parents, cognitive-behavioral treatment of internalizing problem behaviors, and effective treatment of individuals who have alcohol/drug use problems may reduce the likelihood of having symptoms of IA in early midlife.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-72
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective disorders
  • Alcohol and substance use problems
  • Conflictual parent-child relationship
  • Internalizing behaviors
  • Midlife
  • Symptoms of Internet addiction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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