Objectives This study assessed the incidence of transitions in smartphone addiction proneness (SAP) among children and examined the effects of gender, use patterns (social networking sites (SNSs) use and smartphone gaming) and depression on smartphone addiction transitions.Methods A representative sample of 2,155 children from Taipei completed longitudinal surveys in both 2015 (5th grade) and 2016 (6th grade). Latent transition analysis (LTA) was used to characterize transitions in SAP and to examine the effects of use patterns and depression on SAP transitions among boys and girls. Results LTA identified four latent statuses of SAP: about half of the children were in non-SAP status, one-fifth were in tolerance status, one-sixth were in withdrawal status, and one-seventh were in high-SAP status. Both boys and girls had a higher prevalence of high-SAP and tolerance in 6th grade than in 5th grade, whereas in both grades boys had a higher prevalence of high-SAP and withdrawal, and girls had a higher prevalence of non-SAP and tolerance. Controlling for parents’ education, family structure, and household income, higher use of SNSs by children, increasing use of mobile gaming and higher level of depression were individually associated with increased odds of being in one of the three SAP statuses other than non-SAP. When all three covariates were jointly entered into the model, usage of SNSs and depression remained significant predictors. Conclusion Both boys and girls tended to transition to tolerance or high-SAP statuses, while children’s depression and their usage of SNSs increased the risk of smartphone addiction.
dataTransitions in smartphone addiction proneness among children: The effect of gender and use patterns