Inj Prev 15:403-408 doi:10.1136/ip.2009.021949
  • Original Article

The association between internet addiction and self-injurious behaviour among adolescents

  1. L T Lam1,2,
  2. Z Peng3,
  3. J Mai3,
  4. J Jing3
  1. 1
    Discipline of Paediatric and Child Health, Faulty of Medicine, The University of Sydney, Australia
  2. 2
    School of Medicine Sydney, The University of Notre Dame Australia
  3. 3
    Department of Psychological Education of Elementary School and Secondary School, GuangZhou City Ministry of Education, Guangdong Province, PR China
  1. Correspondence to Dr L T Lam, School of Medicine Sydney, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Darlinghurst Campus, 160 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia; llam{at}
  • Accepted 23 June 2009


Objective: To examine the association between internet addiction and self-injurious behaviour (SIB) in adolescence.

Methods: Population-based cross-sectional survey of 1618 high school students aged 13–18 years in Guangzhou city, Guangdong Province, PR China. Deliberate SIB was measured using self-reported questionnaire; internet addiction was assessed using the Internet Addiction Test (IAT).

Results: 263 (16.3%) participants reported having committed some form of SIB in the past 6 months. 73 (4.5%) had committed SIB 6 times or more, and 157 (9.7%) 1–5 times. The majority of respondents were classified as normal users of the internet (n = 1392, 89.2%), with 158 (10.2%) moderately and 10 (0.6%) severely addicted to the internet. After adjusting for potential confounders, the odds ratio for SIB was 2.0 (95% CI 1.1 to 3.7) for those who were classified as moderately and severely addicted to the internet when compared to the normal group.

Conclusions: SIB is common in adolescence in the study population in China. Addiction to the internet is detrimental to mental health and increases the risk of self-injury among adolescents. Clinicians need to be aware of potential co-morbidities of other addictions among adolescent self-injured patients.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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