Several underlying statistical assumptions for multiple regression analysis were examined before running the structural modeling. The assumption of homoscedasticity was checked using the Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances (33). The test ensured no significant differences in the variance of the three dependent variables of social anxiety, depression, and loneliness across groups defined by mobile gaming addiction (p > 0.05 for all cases). Thus, the assumption of homoscedasticity was not violated (34). Second, the skewness values for all variables ranged from 0.25 to 0.82 and the kurtosis values ranged from 0.27 to 0.30, which are within the acceptable range of −1 to +1 for normality (35). Thus, the violation of the normality assumption was not present in the sample data. Thirdly, the assumption of independence of residuals was confirmed by the calculation of the Durbin–Watson statistics for the dependent variables of depression (= 1.36), social anxiety (= 1.76), and loneliness (= 1.71), which are within the acceptable range of 1.5–2.5 for independence (36). Lastly, multi-collinearity was evaluated through the assessment of zero-order correlations among selected measured constructs, as calculated in Table 1. Harris and Hagger (37) noted that multicolline arity is not a serious issue if none of the correlation coefficients between variables exceeds 0.70. It is apparent that pair-wise bivariate associations between the study variables were not highly correlated with each other. Accordingly, multi-collinearity was dismissed from being a major concern in the present study (38). To conclude, the sample data were judged to meet the criteria for further analysis.
Model fit was assessed by considering multiple criteria: a Chi-square/df < 5 a root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) of <0.08 and a comparative fit index (CFI) and a Tucker-Lewis index (TLI) of >0.90 (39). The model fit was considered acceptable when most abovementioned criteria were satisfied. Our results showed that the model fit to the data well, with χ2/df = 3.475, RMSEA = 0.065, 90% CI (0.06, 0.07), CLI = 0.937, TLI = 0.921. Mobile game addiction can explain 10% variance of depression, 6% variance of social anxiety, and 4% variance of loneliness. The standardized beta coefficients are shown in Figure 1. Mobile game addiction was positively related to depression, social anxiety, and loneliness, with β = 0.31, p < 0.001, β = 0.25, p < 0.001, and β = 0.21, p < 0.001, respectively.Considering that gender was proposed as a variable that may moderate the relationship between mobile game addiction and mental health outcomes, the moderating effect of gender was tested. We created a multi-group model in AMOS to test the differences between males and females on the paths between mobile game addiction and its outcomes. The results show that significant gender differences exist considering the relationship between mobile game addiction and social anxiety. Male adolescents who used mobile game additively reported higher levels of social anxiety (β = 0.118, p < 0.001), depression (β = 0.280, p < 0.001), and loneliness (β = 0.311, p < 0.001), compared with female adolescents (β = 0.077, p < 0.001; β = 0.17, p < 0.01; and β = 0.16, p < 0.05, respectively; see Table 2 for details).
The goal of this study was to examine the associations between mobile game addiction and depression, loneliness, social anxiety, and the potential gender difference in these associations were also investigated. The results revealed that adolescent with mobile game addiction had higher self-reported depression, social anxiety and loneliness, which have supported our three hypotheses regarding the association between mobile game addiction and depression, social anxiety, and loneliness. Further, gender difference was observed in the path between mobile game addiction and social anxiety, with male adolescents having a stronger association between mobile game addiction and social anxiety. This indicates that male adolescents may experience more social anxieties if they use mobile game addictively, compared with female adolescents.As we expected, mobile game addiction was positively associated with depression, anxiety, and loneliness, which have supported all of our three hypotheses and are in line with prior findings. Literature has consistently shown that video game addicts reported more anxiety, depression, lower positive affect and psychological well-being. Literature has also shown that Internet addictions are related to poorer emotional health, in particular depression and anxiety (40, 41). For instance, Whang et al. (41) found a significant association between degree of Internet addiction and loneliness and depression. Adolescents with high Internet use exhibited more psychopathology, as revealed by the Brief Symptoms ดูหนังออนไลน์ Inventory (BSI, a reduced version of the Symptoms Checklist, SCL-90) compared with those with low those use (42). In a recent study, (4) reported that young adults addicted to video games showed increased depression and anxiety, and felt more socially isolated. The link between mobile game addiction and mental health may be due to the social isolation resulting from spending too much time gaming, which in turn leads to undermined psychological well-being (43). Our results regarding the association between mobile game addiction and loneliness are also in line with the displacement hypothesis in terms of Internet use, which argues that digital device users have spent most time in online settings, rather than offline, and their existing relationships have suffered as a result (44).
We also expected a gender difference considering the association between mobile game addiction and mental health outcomes. We found that males who were addicted to mobile games tended to suffer more social anxiety, loneliness, and social anxiety, compared with females. This finding is line with prior research (e.g., 24). Gender difference on social anxiety and loneliness has been widely reported in literature. Compared with female adolescents, male adolescents tended to lack social skills, were more socially withdrawn and disclosed less about themselves in offline communication settings (45). This is also a reason why males are more likely to be attracted to a virtual world like computer games since the online world is more comfortable and can offer more sense of security (46). This would further lead them to be more social isolated and experience more social anxiety, loneliness, and depression due to the lack of social bond in offline settings.