The relationship between Internet addiction and bulimia in a sample of Chinese college students: depression as partial mediator between Internet addiction and bulimia

  • ZhuoLi Tao
Original Article



It has been reported that Internet addiction is associated with substance dependence. Eating disorders have high rates of co-morbidity with substance use disorders. The relationship between Internet addiction and eating disorders was reported in a previous study.


To examine the hypothesis that Internet addiction is closely associated with bulimia. The hypothesis that depression mediates the relationship between Internet addiction and bulimia symptoms was also tested.


2,036 Chinese college students were assessed on Internet addiction, eating behaviors and depression. Binge eating, compensatory behaviors, weight concern, menarche and weight change were also reported. Multiple regression analysis was used to test the mediating effect of depression.


Internet addicts showed significantly higher scores on most subscales on EDI-1 than the controls. They reported significantly more binge eating, weight concern and weight change than the controls. Among all of the participants, depression was found to be a partial mediator in the relationship between Internet addiction and bulimia.


This survey provides evidence of the co-morbidity of Internet addiction and bulimia.


Internet addiction Eating disorders Comorbidity Depression Mediator 



I wish to thank all the participants. I also wish to thank Dr. Dietmar for his statistical advice and Mr. Christopher Angell for corrections to the manuscript. The research was supported by grants from the education department, Jiangsu Province, China (Grand Nr: 2011SJD190001); by grant from the "the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities". (Grand Nr: 3213002203) in Southeast University, China.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical HumanitiesSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina

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