Prevalence of Internet Addiction in a Sample of Southern Italian High School Students

  • Antonio Bruno
  • Giuseppe Scimeca
  • Lucia Cava
  • Gianluca Pandolfo
  • Rocco A. Zoccali
  • Maria R.A. Muscatello
Article

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to assess the prevalence of Internet Addiction (IA) in a sample of Italian high school students accounting for age, gender, place of residence, and kind of internet activity. The Internet Addiction Test (IAT) was administered to a sample of 1,035 high schools students (ages ranging from 13 to 22 years; 47.92 % girls) from three southern Italian cities. The prevalence of pathological Internet use in our high school students sample was 3.9 %, with males showing a higher likelihood of developing pathological Internet use. The most recurring Internet activities for excessive users were online games and online communication. No effect of age, place of residence, and region of residence was found. The results of this study reaffirm the importance of active involvement by experts dealing with addiction to implement programs for primary and secondary intervention among high school students.

Keywords

Internet addiction High school students Prevalence Gender differences Addictive behaviour 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association, DSM-5 Development (2013). DSM-5 Development. [Online] Available from: http://www.dsm5.org [Accessed 22nd May 2013].
  2. Bayractar, F., & Gün, Z. (2007). Incidence and correlates of internet usage among adolescents in North Cyprus. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10, 191–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Black, D. W., Belsare, G., & Schlosser, S. (1999). Clinical features, psychiatric comorbidity, and health-related quality of life in persons reporting compulsive computer use behavior. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60, 839–844.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Block, J. J. (2007). Pathological computer use in the USA, in 2007 international symposium on the counselling and treatment of youth internet addiction (p. 433). Seoul: National Youth Commission.Google Scholar
  5. Block, J. J. (2008). Issues for DSM-V: internet addiction. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 306–307.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chak, K., & Leung, L. (2004). Shyness and locus of control as predictors of internet addiction and internet use. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 7, 559–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chou, C., Condron, L., & Belland, J. C. (2005). A review of the research on internet addiction. Educational Psychology Review, 17, 363–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ferraro, G., Caci, B., D’amico, A., & Di Blasi, M. (2006). Internet addiction disorder: un contributo di ricerca. Psicotech, 1, 7–25.Google Scholar
  9. Ferraro, G., Caci, B., D’amico, A., & Di Blasi, M. (2007). Internet addiction disorder: an Italian study. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10, 170–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldberg, I. (1995). Internet addictive disorder (IAD) diagnostic criteria. [Online] Available from: www.psycom.net/iadcriteria.html [Accessed July 27th July 2007].
  11. Jang, K. S., Hwang, S. Y., & Choi, J. Y. (2008). Internet addiction and psychiatric symptoms among Korean adolescents. Journal of School Health, 78, 165–171.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Johansson, A., & Götestam, K. G. (2004). Internet addiction: characteristics of a questionnaire and prevalence in Norwegian youth (12–18 years). Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 45, 223–229.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaltiala-Heino, R., Lintonen, T., & Rimpela, A. (2004). Internet addiction? Potentially problematic use of the internet in a population of 12–18 year-old adolescents. Addiction Research and Theory, 12, 89–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kelleci, M., & Inal, S. (2010). Psychiatric symptoms in adolescents with Internet use: comparison without internet use. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 13, 191–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ko, C. H., Yen, J. Y., & Yen, C. F. (2005). Gender differences in addiction to playing online games and related factors among Taiwanese adolescents. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 193, 273–277.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kraut, R., Scherlis, W., Mukhopadhyay, T., Manning, J., & Kiesler, S. (1996). The homenet field trial of residential internet services. Communications of the ACM, 39, 55–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lin, S. S. J., & Tsai, C. C. (2002). Sensation seeking and internet dependence of Taiwanese high school adolescents. Computers in Human Behavior, 18, 411–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mitchell, P. (2000). Internet addiction: genuine diagnosis or not? Lancet, 355, 632.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Morahan-Martin, J. M., & Schumacker, P. (2000). Incidence and correlates of pathological internet use. Computers in Human Behavior, 16, 13–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Poli, R., & Agrimi, E. (2012). Internet addiction disorder: prevalence in an Italian student population. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 66, 55–59.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Scherer, K. (1997). College life online: healthy and unhealthy internet use. Journal of College Student Development, 38, 655–665.Google Scholar
  22. Shapira, N. A., Goldsmith, T. G., Keck, P. E., Jr., Khosla, U. M., & McElroy, S. L. (2000). Psychiatric features of individuals with problematic internet use. Journal of Affective Disorders, 57, 267–272.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Siomos, K. E., Dafouli, E. D., Braimiotis, D. A., Mouzas, O. D., & Angelopoulos, N. V. (2008). Internet addiction among Greek adolescent students. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 11, 653–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tsai, H. F., Cheng, S. H., Yeh, T. L., Shih, C. C., Chen, K. C., Yang, Y. C., et al. (2009). The risk factors of internet addiction—a survey of university freshmen. Psychiatry Research, 167, 294–299.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Van Rooij, A.J., & Van den Eijnden, R.J.J.M. (2007). Monitor Internet en Jongeren 2006 en 2007. Ontwikkelingen in inter- netgebruik en de rol van opvoeding [Internet and Youth 2006 and 2007: Developments in internet use and the role of parenting]. IVO Reeks No. 45, Rotterdam: IVO.Google Scholar
  26. Whang, L. S., Lee, S., & Chang, G. (2003). Internet over-users’ psychological profiles: a behavior sampling analysis on internet addiction. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 6, 143–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Yang, C.-K., Choe, B.-M., Baity, M., Lee, J.-H., & Cho, J.-S. (2005). SCL-90-R and 16PF Profiles of senior high school students with excessive internet use. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50, 407–414.Google Scholar
  28. Yen, J.-Y., Ko, C.-H., Yen, C.-F., Chen, S.-H., Chung, W.-L., & Chen, C.-C. (2008). Psychiatric symptoms in adolescents with internet addiction: comparison with substance use. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 62, 9–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yen, C.-F., Ko, C.-H., Yen, J.-Y., Chang, Y.-P., & Cheng, C.-P. (2009). Multi-dimensional discriminative factors for internet addiction among adolescents regarding gender and age. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 63, 357–364.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Young, K.S. (1996, August). Internet addiction: The emergence of a new clinical disorder. Paper presented at the 104th Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Google Scholar
  31. Young, K. S. (1998a). Caught in the net: How to recognize the signs of internet addiction and a winning strategy for recovery. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Young, K. S. (1998b). Internet addiction: the emergence of a new clinical disorder. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 1, 237–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Young, K. S. (2004). Internet addiction: a new clinical phenomenon and its consequences. American Behavioral Scientist, 48, 402–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Young, K. S., & Rogers, R. C. (1998). The relationship between depression and internet addiction. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 1, 25–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Bruno
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Scimeca
    • 1
  • Lucia Cava
    • 1
  • Gianluca Pandolfo
    • 1
  • Rocco A. Zoccali
    • 1
  • Maria R.A. Muscatello
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychiatry Unit - Department of NeurosciencesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

Personalised recommendations