Association Between Problematic Internet Use and Health Risks in Adolescents With and Without Chronic Health Conditions
Background. Sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are modifiable health risks that often develop during adolescence. A comprehensive analysis of unhealthy behaviors in adolescents with and without chronic health conditions (CHC) could inform the development of more effective prevention approaches.
The aim. This study aimed to measure associations between Problematic Internet Use (PIU), lifestyle habits and subjective health complaints among adolescents with and without CHC. In addition, health behaviors and prevalence of subjective health complaints between adolescents with and without CHC were compared.
Methods. A total of 171 adolescents (87 without CHC and 84 with CHC) completed an online survey. The PIU was assessed by the Problematic and Risky Internet Use Screening Scale. The subjective health complaints assessed were somatic and psychological symptoms. Healthy lifestyle behaviors assessed were daily physical activities, time spent by screens, eating habits, and duration of sleep.
Results. The results showed that 21.83% of adolescents with CHC and 36.78% without CHC scored at risk for problematic internet use. Adolescents without CHC reported significantly more frequent psychological health complaints than their peers with CHC. This study found that multiple health complaints and unhealthy eating habits were significantly associated with PIU in adolescents with CHC, while nervousness and eating fast food in adolescents without CHC. Girls without CHC reported significantly higher PRIUSS scores and prevalence of subjective health complaints than boys (p <.05).
Conclusions. Adolescents without CHC reported significantly higher levels of moderate and vigorous intensity physical activities weekly than their peers with CHC. PIU behaviors are mainly associated with psychological health complaints and unhealthy eating behaviors in adolescents with and without CHC. These findings highlight the need to identify the specific problematic internet use activities that are associated with different health risks in adolescents.
Keywords: problematic internet use, chronic health conditions, lifestyle behaviors, health, adolescents.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Author(s). Published by Lithuanian Sports University.
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