Problematic internet use as an age-related multifaceted problem: Evidence from a two-site survey.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Problematic internet use (PIU; otherwise known as Internet Addiction) is a growing problem in modern societies. There is scarce knowledge of the demographic variables and specific internet activities associated with PIU and a limited understanding of how PIU should be conceptualized. Our aim was to identify specific internet activities associated with PIU and explore the moderating role of age and gender in those associations. METHODS:We recruited 1749 participants aged 18 and above via media advertisements in an Internet-based survey at two sites, one in the US, and one in South Africa; we utilized Lasso regression for the analysis. RESULTS:Specific internet activities were associated with higher problematic internet use scores, including general surfing (lasso ?: 2.1), internet gaming (?: 0.6), online shopping (?: 1.4), use of online auction websites (?: 0.027), social networking (?: 0.46) and use of online pornography (?: 1.0). Age moderated the relationship between PIU and role-playing-games (?: 0.33), online gambling (?: 0.15), use of auction websites (?: 0.35) and streaming media (?: 0.35), with older age associated with higher levels of PIU. There was inconclusive evidence for gender and gender?×?internet activities being associated with problematic internet use scores. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and social anxiety disorder were associated with high PIU scores in young participants (age???25, ?: 0.35 and 0.65 respectively), whereas generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were associated with high PIU scores in the older participants (age?>?55, ?: 6.4 and 4.3 respectively). CONCLUSIONS:Many types of online behavior (e.g. shopping, pornography, general surfing) bear a stronger relationship with maladaptive use of the internet than gaming supporting the diagnostic classification of problematic internet use as a multifaceted disorder. Furthermore, internet activities and psychiatric diagnoses associated with problematic internet use vary with age, with public health implications.
Project description:Although numerous studies have examined the factors influencing problematic Internet use (PIU), few studies have investigated the interactions between inappropriate physical and mental health (e.g., cyberbullying, Internet pornography, and Internet fraud) as factors facilitating PIU and examined the moderating effect of community bond. Thus, this study analyzed the moderating role of community bond in the relationship between cyberbullying, Internet pornography, Internet fraud, and PIU. Using a cross-sectional survey, adolescents were surveyed through self-report questionnaires. A total of 5,211 responses were received from participant students at 60 senior high schools in Taiwan. Statistical analyses were performed using structural equation modeling. The results indicated that cyberbullying, Internet pornography, Internet fraud, and community bond have significant positive effects on PIU. Community bond has a significant moderating effect in the relationship between cyberbullying, Internet fraud, and the PIU of adolescents. Parental Internet attitude and behavior were found to significantly moderate the relationship between inappropriate physical and mental health, community bond, and PIU. The results suggest that public health and education policies should focus more on adolescents who require additional assistance. Furthermore, school policies could be more informed in regard to relevant psychosocial variables and patterns of Internet use. Finally, this study may serve as a reference for parents, schools, and government education authorities.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Problematic internet use (PIU) among youth has become a public health concern. Previous studies identified socio-demographic background risk factors for PIU. The effects of online activities on youth PIU behavior are not well investigated. METHODS:This cross-sectional study assessed the roles of online activities for PIU behavior of undergraduate students in Bahir Dar University, North West Ethiopia. Data were collected from 812 randomly selected regular program students recruited from 10 departments. Respondents completed a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Hierarchical logistic regression models were used for analyses. RESULTS:The results indicated that social networking (75.5%), entertainment (73.6%), academic works (70.9%), and online gaming (21.6%) are the important online activities students are engaging in the internet. About 33% and 1.8% of students showed symptoms of mild and severe PIU, respectively. Taking online activities into account improved the model explaining PIU behavior of students. Online activities explained 46% of the variance in PIU. Using the internet for social networking (AOR = 7.078; 95% CI: 3.913-12.804) and online gaming (AOR = 2.175; 95% CI: 1.419-3.335) were risk factors for PIU. CONCLUSIONS:The findings revealed that more than a third of the respondents showed symptoms of PIU. Online activities improved the model explaining PIU behavior of students. Thus, university authorities need to be aware of the prevalence of PIU and introduce regulatory mechanisms to limit the usage of potentially addictive online activities and promoting responsible use of the internet.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Problematic online gaming (POG) and problematic Internet use (PIU) have become a serious public mental health problem, with Internet gaming disorder (IGD) included in "Conditions for further study" section of DSM-5. Although higher immersive tendency is observed in people affected by POG, little is known about the simultaneous effect of immersive tendency and its highly comorbid mental disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to assess the relationship between immersive tendency, ADHD, and IGD. METHODS:Cross-sectional interview study was conducted in Seoul, Korea with 51 male undergraduate students; 23 active gamers and 28 controls. RESULTS:Current ADHD symptoms showed partial mediation effect on the path of immersive tendency on POG and PIU. The mediation model with inattention explained variance in both POG and PIU better than other current ADHD symptom models (R2=69.2 in POG; 69.3 in PIU). Childhood ADHD symptoms models demonstrated mediation effect on both POG and PIU which explained less variance than current ADHD symptom models (R2=53.7 in POG; 52.1 in PIU). Current ADHD symptoms, especially inattention, appear to mediate the effect of immersive tendency on POG/PIU. CONCLUSION:Immersive tendencies may entail greater susceptibility to IGD, and comorbidity with ADHD may mediate the effect of immersive tendency on IGD.
Project description:The primary aim of this study was to compare different screening tools for problematic internet pornography use (IPU) and identify the most accurate measure. The reliability and validity of three scales, namely, the Problematic Pornography Consumption Scale (PPCS), Problematic Pornography Use Scale (PPUS), and Short Internet Addiction Test Adapted to Online Sexual Activities(s-IAT-sex), were examined using three homogeneous groups, respectively. A total of 972 adults (mean age = 24.8) from 28 provinces/regions in China participated in the quantitative part (QUAN). The Brief Pornography Screener served as the reference standard. The PPCS demonstrated stronger reliability and validity, including criterion validity, as well as greater sensitivity and acceptable specificity; therefore, it was considered to be the more accurate screening instrument. In the qualitative part (QUAL), we interviewed 22 volunteers and 11 therapists (who had worked with individuals with problematic IPU) to examine their perspectives on the core features of problematic IPU and dimensions of the PPCS. Almost all the interviewees endorsed the structure of the PPCS. These findings encourage the use of the PPCS in future research studies and underscore its screening applications because of its ability to classify IPU as problematic or nonproblematic.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The problematic use of online gaming, social networking sites (SNS) and online pornography (OP) is an evolving problem. Contrary to the problematic use of SNS and OP, Internet gaming disorder (IGD) was included in the new edition of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) as a condition for further study. The present study adapted the criteria for IGD to the problematic use of SNS and OP by modifying a validated questionnaire for IGD (Internet Gaming Disorder Questionnaire: IGDQ) and investigating the psychometric properties of the modified versions, SNSDQ and OPDQ. METHODS:Two online samples (SNS: n?=?700, 25.6?±?8.4?years, 76.4% female; OP: n?=?700, 32.9?±?12.6?years, 76.7% male) completed the SNSDQ/OPDQ, the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and the short Internet Addiction Test (sIAT) and provided information on their SNS/OP use. Standard item and reliability analyses, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and correlations with the sIAT were calculated. Problematic and non-problematic users were compared. RESULTS:The internal consistencies were ?ordinal?=?0.89 (SNS) and ?ordinal?=?0.88 (OP). The exploratory factor analyses extracted one factor for both questionnaires. Confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the results. The SNSDQ/OPDQ scores correlated highly with the sIAT scores and moderately with SNS/OP usage time. Of the users, 3.4% (SNS) and 7.1% (OP) lay above the cutoff for problematic use. Problematic users had higher sIAT scores, used the applications for longer and experienced more psychological distress. CONCLUSION:Overall, the results of the study indicate that the adaption of the IGD criteria is a promising approach for measuring problematic SNS/OP use.
Project description:The current study examined the associations between specific Internet activities (online shopping, pornography use, social networking site use, and Internet gaming), life satisfaction, and the mediating effects of loneliness and depression for these associations. Participants were 5,215 students (2,303 male participants, Mage = 16.20 years; ranging in age from 10 to 23 years) from various school types (546 elementary school students, 1710 junior high school students, 688 senior high school students, and 2271 university students) who provided self-report data on demographic variables, online shopping, pornography use, social networking site use, loneliness, depression, and life satisfaction. The results indicated that after controlling for demographic variables (gender and age) (a) loneliness and depression had fully positive mediating effects on the association between social networking site use and life satisfaction; (b) loneliness and depression played fully negative mediating effects on life satisfaction associations with online shopping, pornography use, and Internet gaming. Therefore, loneliness and depression were the underlying mechanisms that caused life satisfaction to be affected by online shopping, pornography use, social networking site use, and Internet gaming.
Project description:Studies have identified high rates and severe consequences of Internet Addiction/Pathological Internet Use (IA/PIU) in university students. However, most research concerning IA/PIU in U.S. university students has been conducted within a quantitative research paradigm, and frequently fails to contextualize the problem of IA/PIU. To address this gap, we conducted an exploratory qualitative study using the focus group approach and examined 27 U.S. university students who self-identified as intensive Internet users, spent more than 25 hours/week on the Internet for non-school or non-work-related activities and who reported Internet-associated health and/or psychosocial problems. Students completed two IA/PIU measures (Young's Diagnostic Questionnaire and the Compulsive Internet Use Scale) and participated in focus groups exploring the natural history of their Internet use; preferred online activities; emotional, interpersonal, and situational triggers for intensive Internet use; and health and/or psychosocial consequences of their Internet overuse. Students' self-reports of Internet overuse problems were consistent with results of standardized measures. Students first accessed the Internet at an average age of 9 (SD = 2.7), and first had a problem with Internet overuse at an average age of 16 (SD = 4.3). Sadness and depression, boredom, and stress were common triggers of intensive Internet use. Social media use was nearly universal and pervasive in participants' lives. Sleep deprivation, academic under-achievement, failure to exercise and to engage in face-to-face social activities, negative affective states, and decreased ability to concentrate were frequently reported consequences of intensive Internet use/Internet overuse. IA/PIU may be an underappreciated problem among U.S. university students and warrants additional research.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Problematic use of the Internet has been highlighted as needing further study by international bodies, including the European Union and American Psychiatric Association. Knowledge regarding the optimal classification of problematic use of the Internet, subtypes, and associations with clinical disorders has been hindered by reliance on measurement instruments characterized by limited psychometric properties and external validation. METHODS:Non-treatment seeking individuals were recruited from the community of Stellenbosch, South Africa (N?=?1661), and Chicago, United States of America (N?=?827). Participants completed an online version of the Internet Addiction Test, a widely used measure of problematic use of the Internet consisting of 20-items, measured on a 5-point Likert-scale. The online questions also included demographic measures, time spent engaging in different online activities, and clinical scales. The psychometric properties of the Internet Addiction Test, and potential problematic use of the Internet subtypes, were characterized using factor analysis and latent class analysis. RESULTS:Internet Addiction Test data were optimally conceptualized as unidimensional. Latent class analysis identified two groups: those essentially free from Internet use problems, and those with problematic use of the Internet situated along a unidimensional spectrum. Internet Addiction Test scores clearly differentiated these groups, but with different optimal cut-offs at each site. In the larger Stellenbosch dataset, there was evidence for two subtypes of problematic use of the Internet that differed in severity: a lower severity "impulsive" subtype (linked with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder), and a higher severity "compulsive" subtype (linked with obsessive-compulsive personality traits). CONCLUSIONS:Problematic use of the Internet as measured by the Internet Addiction Test reflects a quasi-trait - a unipolar dimension in which most variance is restricted to a subset of people with problems regulating Internet use. There was no evidence for subtypes based on the type of online activities engaged in, which increased similarly with overall severity of Internet use problems. Measures of comorbid psychiatric symptoms, along with impulsivity, and compulsivity, appear valuable for differentiating clinical subtypes and could be included in the development of new instruments for assessing the presence and severity of Internet use problems.
Project description:Problematic Internet use (PIU) is a growing health concern among adolescents and young adults. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to develop and refine a theoretically-grounded and psychometrically-validated assessment instrument for PIU specifically tailored to adolescents and young adults. An item pool was developed using concept mapping and a review of the literature, and administered to 714 students from two universities between 18 and 25 years of age. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used in a development subsample (n=500) to construct the scale. A cross-validation sample (n=214) was used to confirm the scale's reliability. The Problematic and Risky Internet Use Screening Scale (PRIUSS) is an 18-item scale with three subscales: Social Impairment, Emotional Impairment, and Risky/Impulsive Internet Use. Based on its strong theoretical foundation and promising psychometric performance, the PRIUSS may be a valuable tool for screening and prevention efforts in this population.
Project description:Previous research warned that internet and social media use could have a negative effect on the social lives of excessive users. Based on the social compensation hypothesis, however, factors related to social fears could lead to problematic social networking site (SNS) use because individuals try to compensate for their offline popularity. It was shown that individuals with higher levels of social fears tend to prefer computer-mediated (CMC) instead of face to face (FTF) communication. Here, we aimed to create a model that shows the direct and indirect effects of social anxiety and self-esteem on problematic SNS use. A total of 215 participants filled out our survey including measures of social anxiety, self-esteem, fear of negative evaluation, social media and Internet addiction. Using structural equation modeling we tested the indirect and direct effects between the variables. Our results indicated that social anxiety and lower self-esteem could lead to favoring CMC over FTF communication, which may result in problematic internet (PIU) and SNS use as a compensatory behavior to cope with fear of negative evaluation. The indirect pathways might highlight relevant differences behind the motivation of PIU - anonymity - and problematic SNS use - control. Theoretical as well as practical implications are discussed.