Potential markers for problematic internet use: A telephone survey of 2,513 adults

Impulse Control Disorders Clinic, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94305, USA.
CNS spectrums (Impact Factor: 2.71). 10/2006; 11(10):750-5.
Source: PubMed


The Internet has positively altered many aspects of life. However, for a subset of users, the medium may have become a consuming problem that exhibits features of impulse control disorders recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.
This is the first large-scale epidemiological study of problematic Internet use through a random-digit-dial telephone survey of 2,513 adults in the United States. Given the lack of validated criteria, survey questions were extrapolated from established diagnostic criteria for impulse control disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse. Four possible diagnostic criteria sets were generated. The least restrictive set required the respondent to report an unsuccessful effort to reduce Internet use or a history of remaining online longer than intended, Internet use interfering with relationships, and a preoccupation with Internet use when offline.
The response rate was 56.3%. Interviews averaged 11.3 minutes in duration. From 3.7% to 13% of respondents endorsed > or =1 markers consistent with problematic Internet use. The least restrictive proposed diagnostic criteria set yielded a prevalence of problematic Internet use of 0.7%.
Potential markers of problematic Internet use seem present in a sizeable proportion of adults. Future studies should delineate whether problematic Internet use constitutes a pathological behavior that meets criteria for an independent disorder, or represents a symptom of other psychopathologies.

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    • "Internet addiction is classified within the behavioural addictions, whichshows common characteristics with other types of addictions, such as loss of control, the appearance of abstinence syndrome, a strong psychological dependence , interference in daily life activities, and loss of interest in other activities (Echeburúa & Amor, 2001). Although the expression Internet addiction is constantly alluded to, there is not a consensus regarding this phenomenon in the scientific community and various terms can be found in scientific literature such as " Internet Addiction " (Young, 1998), " Computer Addiction " (Charlton, 2002), " Compulsive Internet Use " (Greenfield, 1999; Meerker, Van den Eijden & Garretsen, 2006), " Pathological Internet Use " (Davis, 2001), " Problematic Internet Use " (Aboujaoude, Koran & Serpe, 2006; Caplan, 2003), " Unregulated Internet Usage " (La Rose, Lin & Eastin, 2003). In any case, they tend to be referring to the same phenomenon, even with different terms. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to analyse the relationship between Internet addiction andsocial anxiety and social skills difficulties in a sample consisting of 446 Spanish adolescents between 12 and 16 years old.Our results show thatadolescents with high scores in problematic use of the Internetpresent higher scores in social anxiety and social skills difficulties. Furthermore, the intrapersonal addiction showed a positive significant association both with the degree of social anxiety and with lack of assertiveness. On the other hand, the interpersonal addiction did more with social anxiety. Data from this study can help to design and implement prevention programs for a healthy use of the Internet at school and inhome settings. 2014 by Sociedad Chilena de Psicología Clínica
    Terapia Psicologica 12/2014; 32(3):175-184. DOI:10.4067/S0718-48082014000300001 · 0.61 Impact Factor
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    • "Numerous studies of the past decade point to Internet addictive behavior as a growing health issue in different parts of the population. Prevalence estimations range up to 6.7% within adolescents and young adults in southeast Asia [1], 0.6% in the United States [2], and between 1 and 2.1% in European countries [3] [4] with adolescents showing even increased prevalence rates (e.g., [4]). Based on these observations, the APA has decided to include Internet Gaming Disorder—one common subtype of Internet addiction (IA)—into section III of the DSM-5 " as a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be considered for inclusion in the main book as a formal disorder " [5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Internet addiction is regarded as a growing health concern in many parts of the world with prevalence rates of 1-2% in Europe and up to 7% in some Asian countries. Clinical research has demonstrated that Internet addiction is accompanied with loss of interests, decreased psychosocial functioning, social retreat, and heightened psychosocial distress. Specialized treatment programs are needed to face this problem that has recently been added to the appendix of the DSM-5. While there are numerous studies assessing clinical characteristics of patients with Internet addiction, the knowledge about the effectiveness of treatment programs is limited. Although a recent meta-analysis indicates that those programs show effects, more clinical studies are needed here. To add knowledge, we conducted a pilot study on the effects of a standardized cognitive-behavioral therapy program for IA. 42 male adults meeting criteria for Internet addiction were enrolled. Their IA-status, psychopathological symptoms, and perceived self-efficacy expectancy were assessed before and after the treatment. The results show that 70.3% of the patients finished the therapy regularly. After treatment symptoms of IA had decreased significantly. Psychopathological symptoms were reduced as well as associated psychosocial problems. The results of this pilot study emphasize findings from the only meta-analysis conducted so far.
    BioMed Research International 07/2014; 2014:425924. DOI:10.1155/2014/425924 · 1.58 Impact Factor
    • "This technology-driven interconnectivity is paralleled by an increase in research indicating that excessive Internet use can lead to symptoms that are associated with problems and/or addiction (Ko et al. 2009; Leung and Lee 2012; Young 2010). Internet addiction has been described as a 21 st century epidemic (Christakis 2010) with prevalence estimates ranging from 0.3 % in the USA (Aboujaoude et al. 2006) to 18.3 % in Great Britain (Niemz et al. 2005). The discrepancy in prevalence estimates is a consequence of the population studied (for example Niemz et al. (2005) studied a restricted student sample), and the fact that the measurement instruments that were used to identify people as being addicted to using the Internet vary in terms of classification and cut-off points for psychopathology. "

    General Online Research, Koeln, Germany; 03/2014
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