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   2006, Vol. 38 Issue (03) : 407-413     DOI:
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A Structural Equation Modeling of Motives, Behaviors of Internet Use and Related Social-Psychological Health
Zhang-Feng,Shen-Mowei,Xu-Mei,Zhu-Haiyan,Zhou-Ning
Department of Psychology, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming 650092, China
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Abstract  The relation between Internet use behavior and Internet-related social-psychological health has been a major research focus in the field of Cyber-Psychology. However, previous studies show inconsistent results. Kraut et al. (1998) believed that the Internet use might replace some of the social activities the real life, resulting in reduced social involvement and negative mental health and social-psychological detriment. LaRose et al. (2001), on the other hand, found that frequent Internet use and accumulation of online experience could improve users’ self-efficacy, reduce their stress level from Internet use as well as their general stress level, and reduce depression levels by means of reinforcing a social support system. Shaw and Gant’s study (2002) obtained results similar to LaRose et al. (2001), and concluded that the Internet had positive effects on its users. In a factor analysis, Weiser (2001) identified two motives of Internet use, which are Goods-and-Information Acquisition and Socio-Affective Regulation. Weiser (2001) suggested that the Internet use based on Goods-and-Information may advance users’ mental health by improving their social integration, whereas the Internet use based on Socio-Affective Regulation may reduce users’ mental health by creating negative effects on their social integration. It can be seen that different Internet-related social-psychological effects may depend on different motives of Internet use.
Based on the previous work conducted by others and by us (Shen, Li, et al., 2004; Xu, Zhang, et al., 2004; Zhu, Zhang, et al., 2005), we claimed that different motives of Internet use would cause different Internet use behaviors, leading to different social-psychological effects. We proposed a mediating model in which the relation between motive of Internet use and various social-psychological effects was mediated by Internet use behavior. We tested the model using structural equation modeling on a sample of 581 undergraduate students. In the model, the motives of Internet use consisted of two facets which were labeled as Social-Affective motive and Information-Acquisition motive. Pathological Internet use behavior consisted of three primary behaviors which were referred to as online impulsiveness, distraction/avoidance and online social superiority. The social- psychological health related to Internet use had five dimensions which were loneliness, social involvement, general depression, life happiness and life satisfaction. These five factors were further extracted into the two higher-order factors of social health and psychological health.
Structural equation modeling results showed that the Information -Acquisition motive improved Internet user’s social health, whereas the Social-Affective motive led to pathological Internet use behavioral patterns and, through the mediating effect of pathological Internet use behavior, the Social-Affective motive also played an indirect role in negatively affecting users’ social health and psychological health. Overall, the Information Acquisition motive had a positive effect and the Interpersonal- Affective motive had a negative effect on psychological health. The positive effect of Internet use seemed to have surpassed its negative effect with this sample of undergraduate students
Keywords undergraduate      motives of Internet use      pathological Internet use behavior      social- psychological health      structural equation modeling     
:  R395  
Corresponding Authors: Zhang Feng   
Issue Date: 30 May 2006
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Zhang-Feng,Shen-Mowei,Xu-Mei,Zhu-Haiyan,Zhou-Ning. A Structural Equation Modeling of Motives, Behaviors of Internet Use and Related Social-Psychological Health[J]. ,2006, 38(03): 407-413.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2006/V38/I03/407
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