Caught in the Web: A Meta-analysis of Internet Addiction, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents

Journal article


Waheed, H., Macaulay, P., Ali Al-Jaifi, H. A., Allen, K. and She, L. 2024. Caught in the Web: A Meta-analysis of Internet Addiction, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents. Information Technology & People. 37 (8), pp. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-07-2023-0676
AuthorsWaheed, H., Macaulay, P., Ali Al-Jaifi, H. A., Allen, K. and She, L.
Abstract

Purpose
In response to growing concerns over the negative consequences of Internet addiction on adolescents’ mental health, coupled with conflicting results in this literature stream, this meta-analysis sought to (1) examine the association between Internet addiction and depressive symptoms in adolescents, (2) examine the moderating role of Internet freedom across countries, and (3) examine the mediating role of excessive daytime sleepiness.

Design/methodology/approach
In total, 52 studies were analyzed using robust variance estimation and meta-analytic structural equation modeling.

Findings
There was a significant and moderate association between Internet addiction and depressive symptoms. Furthermore, Internet freedom did not explain heterogeneity in this literature stream before and after controlling for study quality and the percentage of female participants. In support of the displacement hypothesis, this study found that Internet addiction contributes to depressive symptoms through excessive daytime sleepiness (proportion mediated = 17.48%). As the evidence suggests, excessive daytime sleepiness displaces a host of activities beneficial for maintaining mental health. The results were subjected to a battery of robustness checks and the conclusions remain unchanged.

Practical implications
The results underscore the negative consequences of Internet addiction in adolescents. Addressing this issue would involve interventions that promote sleep hygiene and greater offline engagement with peers to alleviate depressive symptoms.

Originality/value
This study utilizes robust meta-analytic techniques to provide the most comprehensive examination of the association between Internet addiction and depressive symptoms in adolescents. The implications intersect with the shared interests of social scientists, health practitioners, and policy makers.

KeywordsInternet addiction; Web 2.0; Behaviour change; Literature review; Structural equation modelling; Government policy
Year2024
JournalInformation Technology & People
Journal citation37 (8), pp. 1-21
PublisherEmerald
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-07-2023-0676
Web address (URL)https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/ITP-07-2023-0676/full/html
FunderCharities Aid Foundation America
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online14 Mar 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted07 Dec 2023
Deposited25 Mar 2024
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