Main Article Content
We examined the reciprocal relationship between loneliness and generalized pathological Internet use (GPIU) with a sample of 361 (141 men and 220 women, Mage = 18.47 years) university freshmen in China. A fully cross-lagged panel design was used, in which loneliness and GPIU were assessed at 3 time points. The results were as follows: (a) GPIU had a higher level of stability than did loneliness, and (b) the relationship between loneliness and GPIU was dynamic and bidirectional. Specifically, loneliness positively predicted GPIU across time, GPIU at Time 2 (3 months after initial measurement) positively predicted loneliness at Time 3 (6 months after initial measurement), and the link between baseline loneliness and Time 3 loneliness was mediated by increased GPIU at Time 2. Our findings have implications for the treatment and prevention of GPIU in university freshmen.