Internet stimulates the user’s senses causing a variety of subjective experiences and sensations, even though it has no inherent addictive quality. These experiences could be positive, as the improvement of education, or adverse, as the development of internet addiction. There are many people who prefer to invest their time and energy in the virtual world of the internet. They choose to withdraw their emotional investments from face to face communication, while in some cases the internet connection signifies the user’s disconnection from the real life, as the person is isolated from the surrounding and lives in a virtual environment. Under these conditions the excessive use of internet may lead to addiction. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between internet addiction and anxiety and depressive symptomatology of the user. Participants were 203 internet users aged between 17 and 58 years (Mean=26.03, SD=7.92) who approached the Department For Problematic Use Of Internet, Addiction Unit “18ANO” in Psychiatric Hospital Of Attica to receive specialized help for their pathological internet use. Internet Addiction Test (IAT) was used for the assessment of internet addiction and Symptom Checklist- 90-R (SCL-90-R) was administered for the evaluation of anxiety and depressive symptomatology. The analysis of the survey data showed that gender difference is not observed as to the intensity internet dependence. Younger users are more likely to develop addictive behaviour (in relation to internet use). At this point it should be noted that although positive, this association does not present to be statistically significant. Finally, regarding the relationship between psychopathology and internet addiction, anxiety symptomatology, which was moderately correlated with the overall score at IAT, was found to predict in regression analysis the internet addiction. There was no statistically significant association between internet addiction and depressive symptomatology, with women however, who presented with depressive symptoms to appear more vulnerable than men (who requested therapy from the department). Exploration of the effects of sex and age on internet addiction is expected contribute to the design of the appropriate preventive and therapeutic programs, whereas the study of the relationship between internet addiction and other psychiatric disorders would contribute the understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the development and onset of the addiction.

Key words: Internet addiction, psychopathology, anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms.

E. Soulioti, V. Stavropoulos, S. Christidi, Y. Papastefanou, P. Roussos (page 160)

Full Article in pdf (Greek)