Purpose: The present study examined the psychosocial factors associated with the initiation and persistence of Internet addiction among adolescents in Taiwan. Methods: A total of 2315 students from 26 high schools were assessed in the 10th grade, with follow-up performed in the 11th grade, in Taipei, Taiwan. Self-administered questionnaires were collected in each year to assess the pattern of changes in Internet addiction and psychosocial factors. Results: Of the 1602 students without an Internet addiction in the 10th grade, 253 (15.8%) had initiated Internet addiction by grade 11. Multivariate analysis results indicated that greater engagement in online activities (i.e., social network website use, online gaming), depression, and lower school bonding in grade 10 coupled with an increase in online activities, depression, and smoking from grades 10 to 11 predicted the initiation of Internet addiction. Of the 605 students with Internet addiction in the 10th grade, the addiction had persisted for 383 students (63.3%) in grade 11. An increase in the existence of depression and alcohol use from grades 10 to 11 predicted the persistence of Internet addiction. Conclusions: Online activities, depression, and substance use were important predictors of youth initiation and of the persistence of Internet addiction.
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