Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Yan Ruth Xia

Date of this Version

Fall 12-2022


Wang, Y. (2022). Adolescent Internet Use, Academic Performances, and Problem Behaviors: Findings from a national sample of rural and urban China. [Master's thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln]. DigitalCommons.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Child, Youth & Family Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Yan Ruth Xia. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Yunqi Wang


Adolescent internet use in non-western countries and its association with behavioral problems are understudied. Informed by Bronfenbrenner’s socioecological framework and displacement hypothesis, the present study explored adolescent internet use in rural and urban China, and examined the mediation of academic performances between internet use and problem behaviors. Drawn from a nationally representative program, samples for this study included 3,379 adolescents aged between 9-17 years from 29 provinces. Results showed that rural adolescents had less access to mobile phones and internet, as well as a lower frequency of internet use than urban peers. Hybrid structural equation modeling results revealed that academic grade rankings fully mediated the association between internet use and externalizing behaviors. Academic self-rating negatively associated with both internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Stepwise regression results indicated rural adolescents who have internet access were more vulnerable to negative influences of increased internet entertainment time than urban peers. Findings contributed to the understanding of internet use and developmental outcomes of adolescents in rural and urban residency in China. Implications are discussed for practices, policies, and future research.

Advisor: Yan Ruth Xia