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Development and validation of the Digital Addiction Scale for Teenagers (DAST)

posted on 2021-01-04, 23:02 authored by Riin SeemaRiin Seema, Mati Heidmets, Kenn Konstabel, Ene Varik-Maasik

We present development and validation of the Digital Addiction Scale for Teenagers (DAST), describing the pilot study (N = 40 students) and main study (N = 4493) with Estonian students aged 11–19, in spring 2020. Our aim was to create a scale suitable for psychoeducational assessment of teenagers’ behaviour and feelings towards digital devices. We used the mixed research framework (Onwuegbuzie, Bustamante, & Nelson, 2010). Half of the study sample was collected before the coronavirus crisis (Sample 1: 1972 students) and the rest of it during a distance learning period (Sample 2: 2521 students). We found that factor structure in both subsamples were similar. The DAST shows a negative relation with emotional school engagement and life satisfaction and positive correlations with school burnout, learning difficulties and screen time. We discuss potential uses of the scale for assessing health related digital competences.


Declaration of conflicts of interest

No potential conflicts of interest

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Estonia

Lead author job role

  • Other

Lead author institution

Tallinn University, School of Educational Sciences

Human Participants

  • Yes

Ethics statement

Ethics committee approval was not obtained, as per Tallinn University ethics committee's guidelines, ethics approval was not required because (a) the study involved no intrusive procedures, and (b) data collection was anonymous. The focus group interview was focused on the scale development, not on persons. The discussion was voluntary, oral informed consent was obtained, but not recorded. We contacted the school principals who were interested in the study, and they conducted the survey themselves. We did not communicate directly with the students; this was done by a contact person appointed by the school. Participation for students was voluntary, anonymous, and was not assessed. The research complies with the regulations and procedures arising from the Personal Data Protection Act.


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