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Front Psychiatry ; 13: 947360, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2154828


Background: The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected the mental health of adolescents. To describe the Internet behavior-changing patterns of adolescents and to understand the impact of clinical features on changing patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional cohort study using data collected through online investigation in China. A total of 625 adolescents completed the online survey from May 15 to June 7, 2020. The adolescents were asked to retrospect to the Internet behaviors and game behaviors of three time periods as follows: before the COVID-19 outbreak in China, during the COVID-19 outbreak in China, and back to school. The clinical variables of the demographic data, family functionality, and emotional and behavioral symptoms were also collected. According to the Internet behaviors and game behaviors patterns across the three time periods, the subjects will be sub-grouped. Results: Four Internet behavior-changing patterns during the COVID-19 was identified: (1) Continuous Normal Group (55.52%); (2) Normal to Internet Addiction Group (5.28%); (3) Internet Addiction to Normal Group (14.56%); and (4) Continuous Internet Addiction Group (24.64%). Years of education, academic score ranking, family functionality, and emotional and behavioral symptoms were different across the four groups. Proportions of game behaviors, scores of Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and SDQ subscale during the period before the COVID-19 outbreak were significant in predicting changing patterns. Conclusion: The Internet behavior patterns of adolescents during the COVID-19 period were various. Clinical features before the COVID-19 pandemic may predict changing patterns. The heterogeneity in characteristics between different changing patterns should be considered when intervening in adolescents' problematic Internet behavior.