MMORPG gaming and hostility predict internet addiction symptoms in adolescents: an empirical multilevel longitudinal study

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Stavropoulos, V ; Kuss, DJ ; Griffiths, MD ; Wilson, P ; Motti-Stefanidi, F (2017)

Internet addiction (IA) has become an increasingly researched topic. In the present study, IA symptoms in adolescents were investigated longitudinally with specific focus on the individual’s hostility, gaming use (of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games\ud [MMORPGs]) and gaming on the classroom level (calculated using the percentage of MMORPG players within classes). The sample comprised 648 Greek adolescents who were\ud assessed over a two-year period (aged 16-18 years). IA symptoms were assessed with the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), and hostility with the relevant subscale of the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90). A three-level hierarchical linear model was used to differentiate individual and classroom-level influences on IA symptoms at age 16 years and over time. MMORPG gamers and more hostile adolescents presented more symptoms of IA. However, being a member of a classroom with a higher percentage of MMORPG gamers appeared to be a protective factor for IA. These longitudinal data emphasize the importance of contextual\ud factors at the level of the classroom in determining differences in IA symptoms during adolescence.
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