Which health-related problems are associated with problematic video-gaming or social media use in adolescents? A large-scale cross-sectional public health study

Saskia Y. M. Merelle*, Annet M. Kleiboer, Miriam Schotanus, Theresia L. M. Cluitmans, Cornelia M. Waardenburg, Danielle Kramer, Dike van de Mheen, Antonius J. van Rooij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: 

Problematic video-gaming or social media use may seriously affect adolescents' health status. However, it is not very well known which health-related problems are most strongly related to these issues. To inform the development of prevention and intervention strategies, this study aims to gain a better understanding of the healthrelated problems and demographical factors associated with problematic video-gaming or social media use in early adolescence.

Method: 

A cross-sectional analysis was performed on data collected by two Municipal Health Services in the Netherlands in 2013-2014. In this survey among youth, 21,053 students from secondary schools (mean age 14.4 years) completed a web-based questionnaire. Multivariate analyses were carried out to assess the strength of the associations between mental health problems, life-events, lifestyle and substance use as independent variables, and problematic video-gaming and problematic social media use as dependent variables.

Results: Of the participating students, 5.7% reported problematic video-gaming and 9.1% problematic social media use. Problematic video-gaming was most strongly associated with conduct problems, suicidal thoughts (all medium effect sizes, OR = 2, p<0.01), sedentary behavior (large effect size, OR = 3, p<0.01), and male gender (large effect size). Problematic social media use was highly associated with conduct problems, hyperactivity and sedentary behavior (all medium effect sizes). Additionally, female gender and non-Western ethnicity were relevant demographics (large and medium effect size).

Conclusions: 

Most mental health problems were consistently associated with both problematic video-gaming and problematic social media use, though associations were only practically relevant for conduct problems (both groups), suicidal thoughts (problematic video-gaming) and hyperactivity (problematic social media use). This study also highlights sedentary behavior as health risk as it was associated with both problematic video-gaming and problematic social media use. Interventions for young problematic video-gamers or social media users should take into account mental health and physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
JournalClinical Neuropsychiatry
Volume14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • problematic video-gaming
  • problematic social media use
  • mental health
  • lifestyle
  • adolescents
  • INTERNET ADDICTION
  • DIFFICULTIES QUESTIONNAIRE
  • PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY
  • GAME ADDICTION
  • BODY FATNESS
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • LIFE-STYLE
  • CHILDREN
  • PREVALENCE
  • NETWORKING

Cite this

Merelle, S. Y. M., Kleiboer, A. M., Schotanus, M., Cluitmans, T. L. M., Waardenburg, C. M., Kramer, D., van de Mheen, D., & van Rooij, A. J. (2017). Which health-related problems are associated with problematic video-gaming or social media use in adolescents? A large-scale cross-sectional public health study. Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 14(1), 11-19.