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Background and aims

Despite indications that the dark triad of personality might be associated with Internet-use disorder (IUD), research about these associations is lacking.

Methods

Two studies were performed to grasp the links between these variables. In the first study, a sample consisting of N = 468 participants (n = 130 males) filled in the Short Dark Triad Questionnaire to assess scores in the dark triad of personality and the short Internet Addiction Test to assess tendencies toward unspecified IUD. In the second study, another independent sample of N = 472 participants (n = 143 males) filled in the same questionnaires plus items about specific forms of IUD.

Results

Traits Machiavellianism and psychopathy were positively linked to tendencies toward unspecified IUD in both samples and males and females. Regarding the associations between tendencies toward specific IUDs and the dark triad of personality, no significant associations were found in males (at least not passing correction procedures for multiple testing). In females, trait Machiavellianism/psychopathy and tendencies toward Internet-shopping disorder, trait psychopathy, and tendencies toward Internet-pornography-use disorder as well as trait Machiavellianism and tendencies toward Internet-communication disorder were significantly positively correlated [at least one of the (sub)scales assessing the respective specific IUD was significantly associated with the respective dark triad trait even after correction procedures for multiple testing]. No robust pattern of associations between trait narcissism and unspecified/specific forms of IUD could be observed across (sub)samples.

Discussion and conclusions

These results indicate positive associations of the traits Machiavellianism and psychopathy (on a subclinical level) with tendencies toward IUD, especially unspecified IUD. The associations with tendencies toward specific forms of IUD seem more complex with differential personality correlates for each specific IUD. These associations need to be replicated.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Davide Marengo, Cornelia Sindermann, Daniela Häckel, Michele Settanni, Jon D. Elhai, and Christian Montag

Abstract

Background and aims

Personality is one of the most frequently investigated variables to shed light on the putatively addictive use of the smartphone. By investigating associations between personality and individual differences in addictive smartphone use, researchers aim to understand if some personality traits predispose technology users to develop addictive behaviors. Here, based on existing empirical literature, we aimed at determining the strength of associations between Big Five personality traits and smartphone use disorder (SmUD) by a meta-analytic approach.

Method

For each Big Five personality trait, we performed a meta-analysis of correlations representing their association with SmUD. We also investigated possible publication bias and the moderating effects of age, gender, nationality, length of personality assessments, and time of publication.

Results

We found n = 26 eligible studies. In line with both the Interaction of Person-Affect-Cognition-Execution (I-PACE) model and the framework on problematic mobile-phone use by Billieux, we observed a positive association between Neuroticism and SmUD (r = 0.25), while the association between Extraversion and SmUD was not significant. Partially in line with the aforementioned theoretical frameworks, Conscientiousness was negatively associated with SmUD (r = −0.16). Remaining traits showed smaller associations. No significant publication bias emerged. Moderator analyses showed that time of publication moderated the link between Conscientiousness and SmUD. Moreover, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness showed a heightened inverse association with SmUD among older samples.

Conclusions

The present meta-analysis provides robust empirical evidence that Big Five personality traits can help to understand individual differences in SmUD, supporting the usefulness of their assessment when planning and targeting interventions aimed at at-risk individuals.

Open access

Aims: The present theoretical paper introduces the smartphone technology as a challenge for diagnostics in the study of Internet use disorders and reflects on the term “smartphone addiction.”

Methods: Such a reflection is carried out against the background of a literature review and the inclusion of Gaming Disorder in ICD-11.

Results: We believe that it is necessary to divide research on Internet use disorder (IUD) into a mobile and non-mobile IUD branch. This is important because certain applications such as the messenger application WhatsApp have originally been developed for smartphones and enfold their power and attractiveness mainly on mobile devices.

Discussion and conclusions: Going beyond the argumentation for distinguishing between mobile and non-mobile IUD, it is of high relevance for scientists to better describe and understand what persons are actually (over-)using. This is stressed by a number of examples, explicitly targeting not only the diverse contents used in the online world, but also the exact behavior on each platform. Among others, it matters if a person is more of an active producer of content or passive consumer of social media.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors: Xinqi Zhou, Renjing Wu, Congcong Liu, Juan Kou, Yuanshu Chen, Halley M. Pontes, Dezhong Yao, Keith M. Kendrick, Benjamin Becker, and Christian Montag

Abstract

Background and aims

Growing concerns about the addictive nature of Internet and computer games led to the preliminary recognition of Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) as an emerging disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the official recognition of Gaming Disorder (GD) as a new diagnosis by the World Health Organization (WHO). While the definition of clear diagnostic criteria for (I)GD represents an important step for diagnosis and treatment of the disorder, potential neurobiological correlates of the criteria remain to be explored.

Methods

The present study employed a dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) approach to determine associations between (I)GD symptom-load according to the APA and WHO diagnostic frameworks and brain structure in a comparably large sample of n = 82 healthy subjects.

Results

Higher symptom-load on both, the APA and WHO diagnostic frameworks convergently associated with lower volumes of the striatum.

Discussion

The results from this exploratory study provide the first initial evidence for a neurobiological foundation of the proposed diagnostic criteria for (I)GD according to both diagnostic classification systems and suggest that the transition from non-disordered to disordered gaming may be accompanied by progressive neuroplastic changes in the striatum, thus resembling progressive changes in other addictive disorders.

Conclusions

The proposed (I)GD criteria in both diagnostic systems were associated with neurostructural alterations in the striatum, suggesting an association with progressive changes in the motivational systems of the brain.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

Studies have demonstrated associations between both problematic smartphone and social networks use with everyday life adversities. However, examination of associations between problematic smartphone use (PSU) and problematic use of specific social networking platforms, especially on item-level data, has received relatively little attention. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to explore how items of problematic smartphone, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram use are associated.

Methods

949 German-speaking adults participated in a web survey study. The participants were queried about their socio-demographics as well as levels of problematic smartphone, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram use. In addition to bivariate correlation analysis, exploratory graph analysis (EGA), a type of network analysis, was conducted.

Results

The results showed that while problematic Facebook and Instagram use seem to be distinct phenomena, problematic smartphone and WhatsApp use were heavily intertwined. Furthermore, the only cross-platform symptom observed was the extent of reported pain in wrists and neck due to digital technology use. The EGA network models showed very good stability in bootstrap analyses.

Discussion and conclusions

In general, the results of this study suggest that while Instagram and Facebook use may potentially constitute distinct problematic behaviors, problematic smartphone/WhatsApp use scales may be measuring highly similar or even the same construct.

Open access