Clinical Applications

Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 305-314

First online:

The bits and bytes of computer/internet addiction: A factor analytic approach

  • Marc E. PratarelliAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Oklahoma State University Email author 
  • , Blaine L. BrowneAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Oklahoma State University
  • , Kimberly JohnsonAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Oklahoma State University


A factor analytic approach was used to explore possible constructs underlying so-called computer/Internet addiction. A 94-item survey was developed, from which two major and two minor factors were derived. Factor 1 focused on problematic computer-related behaviors in heavy users of the Internet, whereas Factor 2 focused on the usefulness and general purpose nature of computers and the Internet. Factor 3 isolated a combination of use of the Internet for sexual gratification and shyness/introversion, and Factor 4 focused on an absence of problems related to Internet use that were coupled with a mild aversion or a disinterest in this technology. These data support the notion that some individuals have a mixture of obsessive-like characteristics related specifically to their computer/Internet use but that, not surprisingly, they also exhibit a preference for on-line, rather than in-person, interactions.