[Addictive internet use as a comorbid disorder among clients of an adolescent psychiatry - prevalence and psychopathological symptoms]

Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatr Psychother. 2012 Sep;40(5):331-7; quiz 338-9. doi: 10.1024/1422-4917/a000190.
[Article in German]


Objectives: Excessive and addictive internet use fulfilling criteria of nonsubstance related addiction disorder is increasingly being discussed by scientists and clinicians alike. Its prevalence of about 3 % among minors points to a relatively frequent phenomenon that can lead to functional impairment and distress. However, there is still no evidence concerning its prevalence among underaged patients in psychiatric treatment.

Methods: 81 patients between the age of 8 and 17 years were screened by a standardized instrument for internet addiction (AICA-S) to assess the prevalence of internet addiction among minors being treated in psychiatric inpatient settings. Their clinical symptoms were examined using Youth Self-Report and Child Behavior Checklist.

Results: 11.3 % of the patients fulfilled the criteria of addictive internet use. These patients were older and more often affected by anxiety and depression than patients without internet addiction.

Conclusions: Data suggest that internet addiction is a relevant factor among minors in psychiatric institutions. Those with comorbid internet addiction show distinct patterns of psychopathology and may require disorder-specific treatment.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis*
  • Behavior, Addictive / epidemiology*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires