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Researchers in Taiwan followed 2293 junior high school students over a 2 year period to observe which of these students would develop internet addictions and to determine what risk factors increase a person’s susceptibility for the addiction.

Each student was tested by self report questionnaire to measure:

  • Internet addiction
  • Hostility
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Social phobia

The research team then revisited with each student at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months into the experiment to retest for the conditions listed above.

The Results

Students who scored high on measures of ADHD and hostility were most likely to develop internet addiction over the course of the 2 year study – this was true for both male and female study subjects.

Depression and social phobia were also found to predict an increased likelihood of internet addiction.

Prevention

The researchers say that it’s important that parents identify and treat conditions like ADHD, hostility, depression and social phobia as early as possible to prevent an increased likelihood co-occurring internet addiction.1

Additional Factors that Can Increase a Person’s Susceptibility to Internet Addiction

In addition to mental health disorders, other life factors that can increase your risk of an internet addiction disorder include:

  • You are lonely – having difficulty forming real-life relationships can increase the appeal of easy to engage in online interactions
  • You Have mobility issues (not being able to easily leave the home to socialize)
  • You are stuck at home – caregivers of very young or the elderly sometimes feel stuck in the house and escape to the internet to socialize
  • You suffer from anxiety
  • You suffer from excessive stress – you may use the internet for escapism
  • You are addicted to alcohol, drugs or gambling – having any other form of addiction increases your risks of an internet addiction2
References
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Page last updated May 03, 2011

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