How has Internet Addiction been Tracked Over the Last Decade? A Literature Review and 3C Paradigm for Future Research

Int J Prev Med. 2020 Nov 9;11:175. doi: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_212_20. eCollection 2020.


Background: The popularity of the internet aggravated by its excessive and uncontrolled use has resulted in psychological impairment or addiction. Internet addiction is hypothesized as an impulse-control disorder of internet use having detrimental impacts on daily life functions, family relationships, and emotional stability. The goal of this review is to provide an exhaustive overview of the empirical evidence on internet addiction and draw attention to future research themes.

Methods: We performed a literature search on ScienceDirect and PubMed to review original research articles with empirical evidence published on peer-reviewed international journals from 2010 to 2019. Eight hundred and 26 articles were eligible for analysis. Frequency and descriptive statistics were calculated by Microsoft Excel.

Results: A substantial contribution has been coming from researchers from China, Turkey, Korea, Germany, and Taiwan respectively. Despite controversies regarding its definition and diagnostic procedures, internet addiction has become the focal point of a myriad of studies that investigated this particular phenomenon from different exposures. Given observed literature review data regarding research design, data acquisition, and data analysis strategies, we proposed the 3C paradigm which emphasizes the necessity of research incorporating cross-disciplinary investigation conducted on cross-cultural settings with conscientious cross-validation considerations to gain a better comprehension of internet addiction.

Conclusions: The findings of the present literature review will serve both academics and practitioners to develop new solutions for better characterize internet addiction.

Keywords: 3C paradigm; internet addiction; internet use disorder; problematic internet use.

Publication types

  • Review