Assessing clinical trials of Internet addiction treatment: a systematic review and CONSORT evaluation

Clin Psychol Rev. 2011 Nov;31(7):1110-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.06.009. Epub 2011 Jul 7.


Although there is ongoing debate concerning the clinical status of Internet addiction, and the quality of the extant literature in this emerging field is not optimal, several clinical trials of both pharmacological and psychological treatments for Internet addiction have been published in recent years. A systematic review investigating the reporting quality of eight treatment studies is presented. Reporting quality was defined according to the 2010 Consolidating Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement. An evaluation of the reviewed studies highlighted several key limitations, including (a) inconsistencies in the definition and diagnosis of Internet addiction, (b) a lack of randomization and blinding techniques, (c) a lack of adequate controls or other comparison groups, and (d) insufficient information concerning recruitment dates, sample characteristics, and treatment effect sizes. It is concluded that improvements in future studies' design and reporting would be of significant benefit to both researchers and clinicians, and to the overall positioning of Internet addiction in the behavioral addiction field.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Behavior, Addictive / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / standards*
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Treatment Outcome