Theoretical Models of the Development and Maintenance of Internet Addiction

  • Matthias Brand
Part of the Studies in Neuroscience, Psychology and Behavioral Economics book series (SNPBE)


In this contribution, theoretical considerations of the development and maintenance of specific types of Internet addiction are summarized. On the basis of previous research, several predisposing variables, and vulnerability factors have been identified. These comprise psychopathological symptoms, such as depression and social anxiety, but also personality variables, such as impulsivity and self-esteem. Social cognitions, like perceived social support, stress vulnerability, and also genetic vulnerabilities are considered further potential predisposing variables. It is argued that predisposing variables act in concert with moderating and mediating variables in the development and maintenance of an Internet addiction. Dysfunctional coping style and Internet use expectancies are considered important in this context. In the course of reinforcement learning and conditioning processes, cue reactivity and craving is supposed to develop, which may interact with reduced executive functioning and inhibitory control. Future research should more explicitly investigate the interactions of certain variables, beyond addressing bivariate effects on a correlational or group-comparison level. The model suggested should be seen as a model in progress, which hopefully has the potential to inspire both future research and clinical practice.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Social Anxiety Inhibitory Control Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptom Internet Addiction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.General Psychology: Cognition and Center for Behavioral Addiction Research (CeBAR) and Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance ImagingUniversity of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany

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