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Internet-Addicted Teens More Likely to Harm Themselves

Study finds excessive Internet use increases self-injury risk among adolescents in China

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who are addicted to the Internet may be more likely to harm themselves as compared to their counterparts without Internet addiction, according to a study in the December issue of Injury Prevention.

Lawrence T. Lam, Ph.D., of the University of Notre Dame Australia in Darlinghurst, and colleagues conducted a study of 1,618 high school students aged 13 to 18 years in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, using a self-reported questionnaire to identify those with Internet addiction and the extent of self-injurious behavior.

The researchers found that there were 263 (16.3 percent) participants who reported self-injurious behavior within the previous six months, including 73 (4.5 percent) who had injured themselves at least six times and 157 (9.7 percent) who had done so up to five times. While 158 (10.2 percent) of the participants reported moderate Internet addiction, 10 (0.6 percent) of them were severely addicted, and the odds of self-injurious behavior was twice that of normal Internet users in these two groups.

"This study can be considered as an exploratory study to identify the potential relationship between Internet addiction and self-injurious behavior among adolescents," the authors write. "It would be prudent to understand that these two are part of a spectrum of behavioral outcomes associated with impulse control disorders. All these behaviors may be rooted in some common etiological factors that require further exploration."

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