University of Oulu

Lopez-Fernandez O, Romo L, Kern L, Rousseau A, Lelonek-Kuleta B, Chwaszcz J, Männikkö N, Rumpf H-J, Bischof A, Király O, et al. Problematic Internet Use among Adults: A Cross-Cultural Study in 15 Countries. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2023; 12(3):1027.

Problematic internet use among adults : a cross-cultural study in 15 countries

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Author: Lopez-Fernandez, Olatz1,2,3,4; Romo, Lucia5,6; Kern, Laurence7,8,9;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Psychology, Campus de Somosaguas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ctra. de Húmera s/n, Pozuelo de Alarcón, 28223 Madrid, Spain
2Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Psychology, Carretera de Pozuelo a Majadahonda km. 1.800, Pozuelo de Alarcón, 28223 Madrid, Spain
3Centro de Estudios Universitarios Cardenal Cisneros, University College, Department of Psychology, Calle del General Díaz Porlier 58, 28006 Madrid, Spain
4Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Servicio de Psiquiatría, Avda. Reyes Católicos 2, 28040 Madrid, Spain
5EA 4430 CLIPSYD Université Paris Nanterre, 92000 Paris, France
6Hôpital Universitaire Raymond Poincaré, AP-HP Garches, CESP, U1018 INSERM UPS UVSQ 2, 92380 Garches, France
7EA 2931, Centre de Recherches sur le Sport et le Mouvement (CESRM), Université Paris Nanterre, 92000 Nanterre, France
8Laboratoire EA 4430, CLIPSYD Paris Nanterre, UPN, Université Paris Nanterre, 92000 Nanterre, France
9Laboratoire APEMAC EA 4360, Université de Lorraine, 57000 Metz, France
10Psychology Department, Centre d’Etudes et Recherches en Psychopathologie et Psychologie de la Santé (EA7411), Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, 31058 Toulouse, France
11Department of Psychology, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
12Research Unit of Health Science and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
13School of Health and Social Care, Oulu University of Applied Sciences, 90570 Oulu, Finland
14Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Lübeck, 23538 Lübeck, Germany
15Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, 1064 Budapest, Hungary
16An der Questenhorst 7, 30173 Hannover, Germany, Psychotherapeutical Office Pilgramm, Karmarschstr. 44, 30159 Hannover, Germany
17LPS EA 849, Aix-Marseille University, 13007 Marseille, France
18Psychologie, Langues, Lettres et Histoire Département, University of Nîmes, 30000 Nîmes, France
19Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, University of Oulu, 90220 Oulu, Finland
20Clinical Neuroscience Research Group, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Forskningsveien 3A, 0373 Oslo, Norway
21Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Valencia, 46010 Valencia, Spain
22Department of Basic Psychology, University of Valencia, 46010 Valencia, Spain
23Département de Psychologie, Université du Québec à Montréal, 514-987-3000 Poste 4553, Montréal, QC H2L 2C4, Canada
24Specialized Facility in Behavioral Addiction ReConnecte, Department of Mental Health and Psychiatry, University Hospitals of Geneva, Rue du Grand-Pré 70 c, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland
25Psychological and Sociological Research and Training Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
26Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming, University of Gibraltar, Gibraltar GX11 1AA, Gibraltar
27International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology Department, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham NG1 4FQ, UK
28Cyberpsychology Research Group, Psychology Department, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4FQ, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-08-11


Background: The present study compared adult usage patterns of online activities, the frequency rate of problematic internet use (PIU), and risk factors (including the psychopathology associated with PIU, i.e., distress and impulsivity) among adults in 15 countries from Europe, America, and Asia.

Methods: A total of 5130 adults from Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, UK, Norway, Peru, Canada, US, and Indonesia completed an online survey assessing PIU and a number of psychological variables (i.e., depression, anxiety, stress, and impulsivity). The sample included more females, with a mean age of 24.71 years (SD = 8.70).

Results: PIU was slightly lower in European countries (rates ranged from 1.1% in Finland to 10.1% in the UK, compared to 2.9% in Canada and 10.4% in the US). There were differences in specific PIU rates (e.g., problematic gaming ranged from 0.4% in Poland to 4.7% in Indonesia). Regression analyses showed that PIU was predicted by problematic social networking and gaming, lack of perseverance, positive urgency, and depression.

Conclusions: The differences in PIU between countries were significant for those between continental regions (Europe versus non-European countries). One of the most interesting findings is that the specific PIU risks were generally low compared to contemporary literature. However, higher levels of PIU were present in countries outside of Europe, although intra-European differences existed.

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Series: Journal of clinical medicine
ISSN: 2077-0383
ISSN-E: 2077-0383
ISSN-L: 2077-0383
Volume: 12
Issue: 3
Article number: 1027
DOI: 10.3390/jcm12031027
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 515 Psychology
3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: This research was funded by the European Commission, grant title: Technological use disorders: European cross-cultural longitudinal and experimental studies for Internet and smartphone problem uses project; code: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF-627999. It was also supported by the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office (KKP126835).
Copyright information: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (