Parenting Style, Personality Traits, and Interpersonal Relationships: A Model of Prediction of Internet Addiction

Yanshu Sun, Jeffrey S. Wilkinson


This study examined how parenting style can help or hinder the development of healthy family relationships when Internet addiction is a concern. A sample of 700 middle school and 500 college students in Zhuhai (a special administrative city in Southern China) were surveyed using self-report questionnaire scales to examine the links among Internet addiction, parenting style, personality traits, and interpersonal communication skills. The findings indicate that problematic parenting styles, such as strict attitudes, heavy punishment, and regularly withholding affection significantly predict individuals’ Internet addiction. Dysfunctional parent–child relations can drive children to extensively use the Internet for escape. In addition, personality traits of introversion, tendency to lie, neuroticism, and psychoticism are positively associated with Internet addiction. Poor interpersonal skills are also linked to self-reported Internet addiction. This study found an interaction effect among parenting style, interpersonal relationships, and personality traits that produced a significant joint effect predicting Internet addiction. The findings provide some guidance for policy makers and professional counselors involved with youth and families struggling to treat Internet addiction.


Internet addiction, parenting style, personality traits, interpersonal relationships, joint effect

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