Excessive internet use, or internet addiction (IA), is linked with an elevated risk of depression, according to a report in the journal Psychopathology.

Investigators pooled survey data on 1,319 people, between the ages of 16 and 51 years. According to the report, “three scales were included: the IA Test, the Internet Function Questionnaire and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).” A total of 18 (1.2%) of participants met criteria for IA.

“Across the whole data sample, there was a close relationship between IA tendencies and depression, such that IA respondents were more depressed; there were also significant differences between the sexes, with men showing more addictive tendencies than women. In addition, young people were significantly more likely to show addictive symptoms than were older people.”

“The concept of IA is emerging as a construct that must be taken seriously,” conclude the study’s authors.

Psychopathology – February 2010;43:121-126.

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