Screening for Adolescent Problematic Internet Use: Validation of the Problematic and Risky Internet Use Screening Scale (PRIUSS)

Acad Pediatr. Nov-Dec 2015;15(6):658-65. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2015.07.001.


Objective: Problematic Internet use (PIU) is an emerging health concern that lacks screening measures validated for use with adolescents and young adults. This study aimed to validate the Problematic and Risky Internet Use Screening Scale (PRIUSS) for use with older adolescents and to increase its clinical utility by determining scoring guidelines and assessing the relationship between PIU and other mental health conditions.

Methods: This cross-sectional survey study took place at a large, public Midwestern university among 330 older adolescents aged 18 to 25 years. Confirmatory factor analysis and Spearman's correlations were used to assess the PRIUSS' structural and construct validity, respectively. A risk-based scoring cutoff was estimated using a Bayesian latent class modeling approach to computing a receiver operating characteristic curve.

Results: The confirmatory factor analysis indices for the 3-factor model indicated an acceptable fit (goodness-of-fit index 0.89, root mean square error of approximation 0.07). A cutoff of 25 (sensitivity 0.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.47-0.99; specificity 0.79, 95% CI 0.73-0.84) is proposed for identifying those at risk for PIU. Participants at risk for PIU were at significantly greater odds of also reporting symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (odds ratio [OR] 2.36 95% CI 1.21-4.62, P = .009), depression (OR 3.25, 95% CI 1.65-6.42, P = .008), and social anxiety (OR 3.77, 95% CI 2.06-6.89, P < .000).

Conclusions: The PRIUSS demonstrated validity as a PIU screening instrument for adolescents and young adults. Screening for PIU may also help to identify those at high reciprocal risk for other mental health conditions.

Keywords: assessment; college health; media; mental health; prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Behavior, Addictive / diagnosis*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior*
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Phobia, Social / psychology
  • Problem Behavior / psychology
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Social Desirability
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Young Adult