Effects of Group Counseling Programs, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Sports Intervention on Internet Addiction in East Asia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Nov 28;14(12):1470. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14121470.


To evaluate the effects of group counseling programs, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and sports intervention on Internet addiction (IA), a systematic search in ten databases was performed to identify eligible studies without language restrictions up to January 2017. A meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis (TSA) was performed, respectively. A total of 58 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which included 2871 participants, were incorporated into our meta-analysis. The results showed that group counseling programs, CBT, and sports intervention could significantly reduce IA levels (group counseling program: standardized mean difference (SMD), -1.37; 95% confidence interval (CI), -1.89 to -0.85; CBT: SMD, -1.88; 95% CI, -2.53 to -1.23; sports intervention: SMD, -1.70; 95% CI, -2.14 to -1.26). For group counseling programs, this treatment was more effective in four dimensions of IA, including time management, interpersonal and health issues, tolerance, and compulsive Internet use. For CBT, this treatment yielded a positive change in depression, anxiousness, aggressiveness, somatization, social insecurity, phobic anxiety, paranoid ideation, and psychoticism. For sports intervention, the significant effects were also observed in all dimensions of the IA scale. Each of group counseling programs, cognitive behavioral therapy, and sports intervention had a significant effect on IA and psychopathological symptoms. Sports intervention could improve withdrawal symptoms especially.

Keywords: Internet addiction; cognitive behavioral therapy; group counseling programs; meta-analysis; sports intervention.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Behavior, Addictive / therapy*
  • China
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Republic of Korea
  • Sports
  • Students / psychology*