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

Abstract

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.

We thank John Chandler and his wife and son for their help in designing and revising the survey instrument, along with the students and computer laboratory assistants in the Math/Sciences building at Oklahoma State University. We also thank Pat Murphy for sharing his thoughts during the development of the study. We appreciate the help of Dan Mason and Amy Tiedt for the many hours of data entry and editing of the manuscript and the reviews and comments of Nancy Duncan, Mark Griffiths, two anonymous SCiP and BRMIC reviewers, as well as those of the editor on earlier versions of the manuscript. We also wish to recognize several of the authors of Web pages, from which ideas for some of the survey items originated.