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.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Internet addiction (IA) has emerged as a universal issue, but its international estimates vary vastly. This multinational meta-analysis fills this gap by providing estimates of its global prevalence. Two hypotheses were formulated to explain the cross-national variations. The accessibility hypothesis predicts that IA prevalence is positively related to Internet penetration rate and GDP per capita, whereas the quality of (real) life hypothesis predicts that IA prevalence is inversely related to a global national index of life satisfaction and specific national indices of environmental quality. Multiple search strategies were used in an attempt to retrieve all empirical reports from 1996 to 2012 that adopted the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire or Internet Addiction Test for assessing generalized IA. The data set comprised 164 prevalence figures derived from 80 reports, including 89,281 participants from 31 nations across seven world regions. A random effects meta-analysis showed a global prevalence estimate of 6.0% [95% CI 5.1-6.9], with moderate heterogeneity (I(2)=44%, p<0.0001). The highest prevalence was in the Middle East with 10.9% [95% CI 5.4-16.3], and the lowest was in Northern and Western Europe with 2.6% [95% CI 1.0-4.1]. Moreover, IA prevalence was higher for nations with greater traffic time consumption, pollution, and dissatisfaction with life in general. The prevalence rate of IA varies across world regions. IA prevalence is inversely associated with the quality of life, as reflected by both subjective (life satisfaction) and objective (quality of environmental conditions) indicators.
    Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 12/2014; 17(12):755-60. · 2.41 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Internet addiction is a recently recognized disorder which has received increasing attention worldwide over the past two decades. This focus has led to the development of several screening tools measuring different aspects of Internet use, and more particularly Internet addiction. However, a synthesis of the information regarding the validity and usefulness of these different scales is lacking and would help inform researchers and clinicians in their choice of measures when assessing for Internet addiction. The main goal of this study was therefore to identify all the existing measures of Internet addiction and to review the psychometric properties of the most frequently used ones. Five electronic databases were searched using the key words: internet use disorder, internet addiction, problematic internet use, pathologic internet use, cyber dependence, and scale, test, questionnaire, tool, assessment and inventory. Forty-five tools assessing Internet addiction were identified, of which only seventeen had been evaluated more than once in terms of their psychometric properties. Most of the existing scales for Internet addiction require further validation work but some of them already demonstrate promising psychometric properties. Given the interest in this phenomenon, it seems important for the field to promote the use of validated and well-established measures.
    Computers in Human Behavior 12/2014; · 2.27 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Aims. In the last 5 years a deluge of articles on the topic of Internet addiction (IA) has proposed many candidate symptoms as evidence of this proposed disease. We critically reviewed the current approach to the measurement and identification of this new excessive behavior syndrome. Methods. Three popular models of IA were discussed: Griffith’s components model; Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT); and the criteria by Tao et al. (2010). We selected these models because they are widely cited and propose specific criteria for IA disorder. Our approach is not meant to provide an exhaustive review, but to discuss and critique the most salient trends in the field. Results. The models of Internet addiction share some criteria, including feeling a loss of control over Internet use; ensuing psychological, social, or professional conflict or problems; and preoccupation when not using the Internet. Other criteria inconsistently mentioned include: mood management, tolerance, withdrawal, and craving/anticipation. The models studied here share the assumption that the Internet can produce a qualitative shift to a diseased state in humans. Conclusions. We critically discussed the above criteria and concluded that the evidence base is currently not strong enough to provide support for an Internet addiction disorder. Future research areas are suggested: (1) Focusing on common impaired dimensions, (2) exploring neuroimaging as a model building tool, and (3) identifying shifts in the rewarding aspects of Internet use. Given the lack of consensus on the subject of Internet addiction, a focus on problem behaviors appears warranted.
    Journal of Behavioural Addictions 12/2014; in press.

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jun 10, 2014