Psychopathological symptoms in individuals at risk of Internet addiction in the context of selected demographic factors
More details
Hide details
Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
2nd Department of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Chair and Department of Paedodontics, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Corresponding author
Emilia Potembska   

Department of Psychiatric Nursing, Medical University of Lublin, Poland, Aleje Racławickie 1, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2019;26(1):33-38
Researchers who study the problems of Internet addiction point out that this dependence is often co-morbid with symptoms of a variety of pathological disorders, including anxiety, depressive, somatization, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The goal of this study was to compare the severity of psychopathological symptoms in individuals at risk of Internet addiction (according to Young’s criteria) and those not at risk of developing this addiction with respect to gender and place of residence (urban vs. rural).

Material and methods:
The study included a group of 692 respondents (485 females and 207 males). The average age of the participants was 20.8 years. 56.06% of them lived in urban areas and 43.94% in rural areas. The following instruments were used: a sociodemographic questionnaire designed by the authors, Young’s 20-item Internet Addiction Test (IAT, Polish translation by Majchrzak and Ogińska-Bulik), and the “O” Symptom Checklist (Kwestionariusz Objawowy “O”, in Polish) by Aleksandrowicz.

Individuals at risk of Internet addiction showed significantly more severe pathological symptoms than the individuals who were not at risk of this addiction. There were differences in the severity of psychopathological symptoms between people at risk of Internet dependence living in urban and rural areas.

Individuals at risk of Internet addiction were found to be characterized by a significantly higher severity of obsessive-compulsive, conversion, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Persons at risk of Internet addiction who lived in rural areas had significantly more severe psychopathological symptoms, mainly obsessive-compulsive, hypochondriac and phobic, compared to their urban peers.

Xiuqin H, Huimin Z, Mengchen L, Jinan W, Ying Z, Ran T. Mental health, personality, and parental rearing styles of adolescents with Internet addiction disorder. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2010; 13(4): 401–406.
Yang CK. Sociopsychiatric characteristics of adolescents who use computers to excess. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2001; 104(3), 217–222.
Yang CK, Choe BM, Baity M, Lee JH, Cho JS. SCL-90-R and 16PF profiles of senior high school students with excessive internet use. Can J Psychiatry. 2005; 50(7): 407–414.
Yen JY, Ko CH, Yen CF, Lee JH, Cho JS. The comorbid psychiatric symptoms of Internet addiction: attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, social phobia, and hostility. J Adolesc Health. 2007; 41(1): 93–98.
Zboralski K, Orzechowska A, Talarowska M, et al. The prevalence of computer and Internet addiction among pupils. Postepy Hig Med Dosw. 2009; 63: 8–12.
Park S. The association between Internet use and depressive symptoms among South Korean adolescents. J Spec Ped Nurs. 2009; 14(4): 230–238.
Morgan C, Cotten SR. The relationship between Internet activities and depressive symptoms in a sample of college freshmen. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2003; 6(2): 133–142.
Morrison CM, Gore H. The relationship between excessive Internet use and depression: A questionnaire-based study of 1,319 young people and adults. Psychopathology. 2010; 43(2): 121–126.
Lam LT, Peng ZW, Mai JC, Jing J. Factors associated with Internet addiction among adolescents. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2009; 12(5): 551–555.
Jang KS, Hwang SY, Choi JY. Internet addiction and psychiatric symptoms among Korean adolescents. J School Health. 2008; 78(3): 165–171.
Ha JH, Kim SY, Bae SC, et al. Depression and Internet addiction in adolescents. Psychopathology. 2007; 40(6): 424–430.
Chele GE, Jijie C, Chirita R, Stefanescu C. Management of internet addiction with comorbid psychiatric condition in Romanian childrens. Eur Psychiatry. 2011; 26 (Suppl.1): 272.
Bernardi S, Pallanti S. Internet addiction: a descriptive clinical study focusing on comorbidities and dissociative symptoms. Compr Psychiatry. 2009; 50(6): 510–516.
Yen JY, Ko CH, Yen CF, Chen SH, Chung WL, Chen CC. Psychiatric symptoms in adolescents with Internet addiction: Comparison with substance use. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2008; 62(1): 9–16.
Alavi SS, Maracy MR, Jannatifard F, Eslami M. The effect of psychiatric symptoms on the internet addiction disorder in Isfahan’s university students. J Res Med Sci. 2011; 16(6): 793–800.
Alizadeh-Sahraee O, Khosravi Z, Yusefnejad M. The relationship of internet addiction with family functioning and mental health among Iranian students. Eur Psychiatry. 2011; 26(1): 1822–1822.
Dong G, Lu Q, Zhou H, Zhao X. Precursor or sequela: pathological disorders in people with Internet addiction disorder. PLoS One. 2011; 6(2), e14703. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0014703.
Ammerschläger M, Müller K, Wölfling K. Prevalence rate and comorbidity of computer addiction of children in a German psychiatry. Eur Psychiatry. 2010; 25(Suppl.1): 53.
Munteanu A, Costea I, Palos R, Jinaru A. Psychological and behavior aspects regarding Internet addiction. Annals of DAAAM International. 2009; 20(1): 1477–1478.
Peukert P, Sieslack S, Barth G, Batra A. Internet- und Computerspielabhängigkeit Phänomenologie, Komorbidität, Ätiologie, Diagnostik und Therapeutische Implikationen für Betroffene und Angehörige. Psychiatr Prax. 2010; 37(5): 219–224.
Pan JY, Zhang JH, Ma P, Liang HJ, Yang LX. Personality characteristics and psychiatric symptoms in senior university students with internet addiction disorder. Chin J Clin Rehabil. 2006; 10(18): 56–58.
Park K, Kim MH, Jun HC. Psychiatric variables (alcohol and internet use behavior, anxiety, depression) and academic achievement in premedical students in a Korean university. Eur Child Adol Psychiatry. 2011; 20(Suppl.1): S182.
Spada MM, Langston B, Nikcevic AV, Moneta GB. The role of metacognitions in problematic internet use. Computers in Human Behavior, 2008; 24(5): 2325–2335.
Sebeyran A, Hassler C, Choquet M, et al. Anxiety and depression in non-treatment-seeking subjects with Internet addiction. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011; 21(Suppl.1): S596.
Tahiroğlu AY, Çelik GG, Fettahoğlu Ç, et al. Problematic Internet use in the psychiatric sample compared community sample. Arch Neuropsychiatry. 2010; 47(3): 241–246.
Te Wildt BT, Putzig I, Vukicevic A, Wedegartner F. Storungen von selbsterleben und beziehungsverhalten bei menschen mit internetabhangigkeit. Sucht. 2011; 57(1): 17–26.
Liu CY, Kuo FY. A study of Internet addiction through the lens of the Interpersonal Theory. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2007; 10(6): 799–804.
Harman JP, Hansen CE, Cochran ME, Lindsey CR. Liar, liar: internet faking but not frequency of use affects social skills, self-esteem, social anxiety, and aggression. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2005; 8(1): 1–6.
Shepherd RM, Edelmann RJ. Reasons for internet use and social anxiety. Personality and Individual Differences. 2005; 39(5): 949–958.
Liu TC, Desai RA, Krishnan-Sarin S, Cavallo DA, Potenza MN. Problematic internet use and health in adolescents: data from a high school survey in Connecticut. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011; 72(6): 836–845.
Mythily S, Qiu S, Winslow M. Prevalence and correlates of excessive Internet use among youth in Singapore. Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008; 37(1): 9–14.
Ni X, Yan H, Chen S, Liu Z. Factors influencing internet addiction in a sample of freshmen university students in China. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2009; 12(3): 327–330.
Stojakovic M. Depression and Internet addiction: correlation and treatment approaches. Eur Psychiatry. 2011; 26(Suppl.1): 2195–2195.
Frangos CC. Internet dependence in college students from Greece. Eur Psychiatry. 2009; 24(Suppl.1): S419.
Young KS, Rogers RC. The relationship between depression and Internet addiction. Cyberpsychol Behav. 1998; 1(1): 25–28.
Özcan NK, Buzlu S. Internet use and its relation with the psychosocial situation for a sample of university students. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2007; 10(6): 767–772.
Te Wildt BT, Putzig I, Zedler M, Ohlmeier MD. Internetabhängigkeit als ein Symptom depressiver Störungen. Psychiatr Prax. 2007; 34(Supp.3): 318–322.
Tsitsika A, Critselis E, Louizou A, et al. Determinants of Internet addiction among adolescents: A Case-control study. Scientific World Journal. 2011; 11, 866–874.
Leung L. Net-generation attributes and seductive properties of the Internet as predictors of online activities and Internet addiction. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2004; 7(3): 333–348.
Huang RL, Lu Z, Liu JJ, et al. Features and predictors of problematic internet use in Chinese college students. Behav Info Technol. 2009; 28(5): 485–490.
Ko CH, Yen JY, Chen CS, Yeh YC, Yen CF. Predictive values of psychiatric symptoms for internet addiction in adolescents: a 2-year prospective study. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009; 163(10): 937–943.
Desai RA, Krishnan-Sarin S, Cavallo D. Potenza MN. Video-gaming among high school students: health correlates, gender differences, and problematic gaming. Pediatrics. 2010; 126(6): 1414–1424.
Bakken IJ, Wenzel HG, Götestam KG, Johansson A, Øren A. Internet addiction among Norwegian adults: a stratified probability sample study. Scand J Psychol. 2009; 50(2): 121–127.
Majchrzak P, Ogińska-Bulik N. Zachowania ryzykowne związane z cyberprzestrzenią – polska adaptacja Internet Addiction Test. In: Ogińska-Bulik N. (ed.): Zachowania ryzykowne dzieci i młodzieży. Łódź: Wydawnictwo WSHE; 2006. p. 59–78 (in Polish).
Rewer A. Skale kwestionariusza objawowego „O”. Psychiatr Pol. 2000; 34(6): 931–943 (in Polish).
Aleksandrowicz JW, Hamuda G. Kwestionariusze objawowe w diagnozie i w badaniach epidemiologicznych zaburzeń nerwicowych. Psychiatr Pol. 1994; 28(6): 667–676 (in Polish).
Aleksandrowicz JW. Kwestionariusz objawowy SII. Psychiatr Pol. 2000; 34(6): 945–959 (in Polish).
Cao F, Su L. Internet addiction among Chinese adolescents: prevalence and psychological features. Child Care Health Dev. 2007; 33(3): 275–281.
Meixner S. Stress und Sucht im Internet. Vortrag gehalten auf der 4. Grazer Psychiatrisch-Psychosomatischen Tagung vom 2009 Januar 22.-24; Graz, Germany.
Caplan SE. Preference for online social interaction. A theory of problematic Internet use and psychosocial well-being. Communication Research. 2003; 30(6): 625–648.
Ceyhan AA, Ceyhan E. Loneliness, depression, and computer self-efficacy as predictors of problematic internet use. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2008; 11(6): 699–701.
Oh WO. Factors influencing internet addiction tendency among middle school students in Gyeong-buk area. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2003; 33(8): 1135–1144.
Armstrong L, Phillips JG, Saling LL. Potential determinants of heavier internet usage. Int J Hum Comput St. 2000; 53: 537–550.
Canan F, Ataoglu A, Nichols LA. Evaluation of psychometric properties of the Internet addiction scale in a sample of Turkish high school students. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2010; 13(3): 317–320.
Yeon B. A study of the relationship between Internet addiction tendency and personality disorders. J Cancer Edu. 2009; 24(Suppl.1): S673-S674.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top