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

California State University, San Marcos, San Marcos, California, United States
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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    • "users in the United States and 6.4% of adolescent internet users in Australia endorse at least one problem, similar to problems related to substance use disorders associated with excessive internet use (Aboujaoude et al., 2006;King et al., 2013). Accordingly, problems related to excessive internet use typically consist of unsuccessful attempts to reduce use, interference with relationships, and a pre-occupation with internet use when offline (Aboujaoude et al., 2006;Fu et al., 2010;Kuss, 2013;Kuss et al., 2014;Tao et al., 2010). "
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