Adolescent Internet addiction (IA) is prevalent. No study, however, has applied the health belief model (HBM) to investigate issues on IA nor investigated factors associated with intention to correct one's perceived IA problem (self‐corrective intention). Such information facilitates design of related interventions, which are warranted.
This cross‐sectional study surveyed 9,618 Chinese secondary school students in Hong Kong; 4,111 (42.7%) self‐assessed that they had IA (self‐assessed IA cases); 1,145 of these self‐assessed IA cases (27.9%) were also classified as IA cases (concordant IA cases), as their Chen Internet Addiction Scale score exceeded 63.
The prevalence of self‐corrective intention among these two subsamples was only 28.2% and 34.1%, respectively. In the self‐assessed IA subsample, the HBM constructs including perceived susceptibility to IA [adjusted odds ratio (ORa) = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.16, 1.34], perceived severity of IA (ORa = 2.28, 95% CI = 2.09, 2.48), perceived benefits for reducing Internet use (ORa = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.18, 1.24), self‐efficacy to reduce Internet use (ORa = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.03, 1.11), and cues to action to reduce Internet use (ORa = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.11, 1.20) were positively, while perceived barriers for reducing Internet use (ORa = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.94, 0.97) were negatively, associated with self‐corrective intention. Similar factors were identified in the concordant IA subsample.
A large proportion of the students perceived that they had IA but only about one‐third intended to correct the problem. Future interventions may consider altering students’ HBM constructs, and focus on the segment of concordant IA with self‐corrective intention, as they show readiness for changes.