The associations between problematic Internet use (PIU) and depressive symptoms have been found to be positive and statistically significant. However, whether the trajectory change of depressive feeling is related to PIU has not been discovered. The present study aimed to investigate the trajectory change of depressive symptoms in a group of Taiwanese college students and to examine the influence of the initial level and the changing rate in depression on the PIU level, with a simultaneous evaluation of gender effect. The survey employed a five-wave panel design in which the data were collected five times from the freshman to junior years for the same participants. The first-year data included 757 freshmen (51.1% male). The results showed that the females exhibit a faster decreasing rate in depression than the males. A student with a higher initial level of depression tends to have a serious initial level of PIU. Additionally, the PIU level at the end of study period could be reduced while the rapidly decreasing rate of depression was observed. The faster the decline in depression is, the lower the PIU level is. The trajectory change of depression plays an important role in predicting the severity of PIU.
- Gender difference
- Latent growth curve model analysis
- Problematic Internet use
- Trajectory change