Emotional Competence as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Internet Addiction and Negative Emotion in Young Adolescents in Hong Kong

Lu Yu, Xiaohua Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Excessive use of the Internet in adolescents has been consistently found associated with multiple health concerns, especially negative emotions, and adversely affected one’s quality of life. While emotional competence is considered an important protective factor for youth development, its role in the relationship between Internet addiction and negative mental health outcomes has not been thoroughly investigated. The present study tested the mediation vs. moderation effects of emotional competence in the relation between Internet addiction and negative emotion in young adolescents based on 404 Hong Kong secondary school students (age = 12.4 ± 0.8 years). The results of structural equation modeling supported the mediation effect of emotional competence, but not its moderation effect. Internet addiction has both a direct influence on adolescents’ negative emotions, and an indirect effect through decreasing emotional competence. In particular, regulation of emotion appeared to be the only emotional competence dimension that mediates the relationship between Internet addiction and negative emotions. The findings suggest the importance of promoting emotional regulation competence to improve the quality of life of adolescents with Internet addiction problems.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2021


  • Adolescent quality of life
  • Emotional competence
  • Internet addiction
  • Mediation effect
  • Negative emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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