Author(s): Cheng C, Li AY
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Abstract Internet addiction (IA) has emerged as a universal issue, but its international estimates vary vastly. This multinational meta-analysis fills this gap by providing estimates of its global prevalence. Two hypotheses were formulated to explain the cross-national variations. The accessibility hypothesis predicts that IA prevalence is positively related to Internet penetration rate and GDP per capita, whereas the quality of (real) life hypothesis predicts that IA prevalence is inversely related to a global national index of life satisfaction and specific national indices of environmental quality. Multiple search strategies were used in an attempt to retrieve all empirical reports from 1996 to 2012 that adopted the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire or Internet Addiction Test for assessing generalized IA. The data set comprised 164 prevalence figures derived from 80 reports, including 89,281 participants from 31 nations across seven world regions. A random effects meta-analysis showed a global prevalence estimate of 6.0\% [95\% CI 5.1-6.9], with moderate heterogeneity (I(2)=44\%, p<0.0001). The highest prevalence was in the Middle East with 10.9\% [95\% CI 5.4-16.3], and the lowest was in Northern and Western Europe with 2.6\% [95\% CI 1.0-4.1]. Moreover, IA prevalence was higher for nations with greater traffic time consumption, pollution, and dissatisfaction with life in general. The prevalence rate of IA varies across world regions. IA prevalence is inversely associated with the quality of life, as reflected by both subjective (life satisfaction) and objective (quality of environmental conditions) indicators.
This article was published in Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw
and referenced in Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior