Family factors in Internet addiction among Chinese youth: A review of English- and Chinese-language studies

Wen Li, Eric L. Garland, Matthew O. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Approximately 513 million Chinese citizens used the Internet in 2011, with adolescents reporting comparatively high levels of use. Although numerous studies (reviewed herein) indicate that Internet Addiction/Pathological Internet Use (IA/PIU) is endemic among Chinese youth and trending upward, no prior review has examined family correlates of IA/PIU in Chinese youth. Thus, our principal aim was to evaluate methodological features and substantive findings of all studies examining family correlates of IA/PIU in Chinese youth. Internet, demographic, psychosocial, and psychiatric/behavioral correlates of IA/PIU, and prevalence estimates for adolescent IA/PIU, were also examined using the large set of studies evaluated in association with our principal aim. Comprehensive bibliographic searches identified 42 pertinent investigations. Youth with IA/PIU reported greater global dissatisfaction with their families; less organized, cohesive and adaptable families; greater inter-parental and parent-child conflict; and perceived their parents as more punitive, and less supportive, warm, and involved compared to non-IA youth. IA/PIU youth were significantly more likely to have divorced parents, live with a single parent, and be an only child than non-IA/PIU youth. IA/PIU is prevalent among Chinese youth and associated with diverse family, psychosocial and psychiatric/behavioral impairments, but rarely is the focus of prevention and treatment interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-411
Number of pages19
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)


  • Chinese youth
  • Family factors
  • Internet addiction
  • Pathological Internet Use
  • Review article


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