Psychological characteristics of compulsive internet use: a preliminary analysis

Cyberpsychol Behav. 1999;2(5):403-12. doi: 10.1089/cpb.1999.2.403.


This study attempted to address the areas of Internet use and abuse by analyzing data derived from an online survey of 17,251 individuals. Data were collected from a joint project with, in which survey participants answered a 36-item questionnaire regarding their Internet use and behavior. The main findings of the study supported previous research indicating that approximately 6% of those surveyed met the criteria for Internet addiction. The study also examined the unique factors involved with sexuality on the Internet, and supported the frequently observed tendency for the progression of virtual sexual behavior to real-time sexual relations. A clear correlation was also found between cybersexual behavior and subsequent realtime sexual activity. In addition, there was an assessment of factors contributing to Internet addiction that was addressed using a regression analysis; the psychological regression found that nearly 46% of Internet addiction variance was accounted for by the variables examined in the study. The contribution of factors unique to Internet use, such as disinhibition, anonymity, ease of access, accelerated intimacy, time distortion (dissociation), and intensity/stimulation of online content were also explored. The study supports the compulsive nature of Internet use for certain individuals and offers suggestions for further research.