A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being

A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force

Joshua Breslau
Eyal Aharoni
Eric R. Pedersen
Laura L. Miller
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 58
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  • Book Info
    A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-Being
    Book Description:

    Problematic Internet Use (PIU) is a behavioral syndrome characterized by excessive and compulsive online activities, symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal, functional impairment and, often, other mental health problems. This report reviews the scientific literature on the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of PIU with the goal of informing Air Force policies to curb PIU’s negative impact on operations and the mental health of Airmen.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-9022-5
    Subjects: Psychology, Technology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Figure
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. Tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. viii-xii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  9. Chapter One. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    The Internet provides healthy people the opportunity for a variety of benefits, including social engagement, emotional support, skill development, financial gains, education, and entertainment. However, Internet activities have also been found to be related to problems with some users’ daily functioning and psychosocial well-being, prompting clinicians and social scientists to attempt to understand and address this historically novel phenomenon. These problems came to the attention of mental health clinicians who began to see patients with difficulties controlling their Internet activities. The cases included college students who failed out of school due to constant Internet gaming that distracted them from their...

  10. Chapter Two. Understanding the Emerging Science of PIU
    (pp. 3-12)

    As ownership of personal computers began to grow during the 1980s, researchers began to explore anecdotal accounts and media stories describing individuals as “addicted” to their computers in the way that others are addicted to drugs (Shotten, 1989, 1991). Reports of similar behaviors related to online computer activities emerged just as the Internet began its dramatic expansion in the mid-1990s. Problematic Internet Use (PIU), the most general term applied to these cases, was first described in the scientific literature in the 1990s (Griffiths, 1996; Young, 1998). Since that time, concern with PIU has grown as the Internet has come to...

  11. Chapter Three. Prevention and Treatment Strategies
    (pp. 13-25)

    As noted in the previous chapter, PIU first came to the attention of clinicians when patients presented with the inability to control their own use of the Internet. To date, no consensus has emerged as to whether their symptoms represent an entirely new diagnosis or simply a problematic behavior pattern that is best considered using existing diagnostic categories. The development of prevention and treatment approaches to PIU reflects this emerging and still unresolved body of scientific research. Clinicians have attempted to provide treatments based on existing models of care, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT¹), that are proven to help patients...

  12. Chapter Four. Implications and Recommendations
    (pp. 26-29)

    PIU remains an emerging area of science. There are some common principles guiding the definition and measurement of PIU, but no consensus on a single set of criteria. PIU is widely recognized as a behavioral pattern associated with severe functional impairment, but it is not currently recognized as an official psychiatric disorder, distinct from other established disorders. The research published to date has generally been based on convenience samples with specialized populations. Studies in representative samples are rare, and the most rigorous general population studies are already out of date given the rapidly shifting demographics of Internet use. The treatment...

  13. References
    (pp. 30-44)