Article

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: 1.3). 10/2006; 11(10):750-5.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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    • "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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