Relationships between internet use, deliberate self-harm, and happiness in adolescents: A Taiwan birth cohort pilot study

For Wey Lung, Bih Ching Shu, Tung Liang Chiang, Shio Jean Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The potential risk of internet use on adolescents' self-harm is a major concern. Vulnerable adolescents who are susceptible to bullying are also susceptible to the negative influence of the internet. In this study, the pathway associations were investigated between the risk factors of deliberate self-harm, experience of being bullied, internet use, and protective factors of maternal monitoring on perceived happiness of 12- and 13-year-old adolescents in the Taiwan Birth Cohort Pilot Study dataset (n = 1,457). The Chinese Oxford Happiness Questionnaire was used to measure the adolescents' self-perceived levels of happiness, in two dimensions of social adaptation status and psychological well-being. Our results show that 354 (24.3%) of the 12-year-olds reported having been bullied, and 289 (19.8%) of the 13- year-olds reported this. Seventy-nine (5.4%) of 13-year-olds reported deliberate self-harm in the past year. Results of a structural equation model showed that those who had been bullied at age 12 years were at greater risk of deliberate self-harm at age 13 years. A negative association was found between duration of internet use and perceived level of happiness. Adolescents who spent >5 h online during days off school were at higher risk of deliberate self-harm, and perceived a lower level of happiness. Therefore, spending >5 h online during days off school could be used as an indicator in future preventive action programs to screen out those at a high risk of excessive internet use, deliberate self-harm, and psychological well-being and social adjustment issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0235834
JournalPloS one
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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