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Applying fairness in labeling various types of internet use disorders

Commentary on How to overcome taxonomical problems in the study of internet use disorders and what to do with “smartphone addiction”?

Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Jon D. Elhai
,
Haibo Yang
, and
Jason C. Levine

Abstract

We comment on arguments about internet and smartphone use disorders by Montag, Wegmann, Sariyska, Demetrovics, and Brand (2020). Although not currently official diagnoses, we emphasize that for some individuals, excessive internet/smartphone use can have dangerous consequences. We discuss the challenges with ICD-11 codifying only internet gaming as an internet use-related disorder, neglecting other types of excessive internet users. Montag et al.'s approach to classifying a broader range of internet use disorders seems more fair than the current system in aiding individuals needing treatment resources for excessive internet use.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

The present study investigated processing bias for game-related cues in problematic mobile gamers (PMGs) under or above the threshold of conscious awareness.

Methods

In Experiment 1, all participants (20 PMGs and 23 casual players (CPs)) finished a masked visual probe task during a brief (17ms) masked exposure condition. In Experiment 2, an unmasked visual probe task was conducted by an additional forty participants (20 PMGs and 20 CPs) at two exposure durations (200 and 500ms).

Results

Results showed that PMGs, but not CPs, had an attentional bias for game-related cues which had been presented with two exposure durations (17 and 200ms).

Discussion and conclusion

In conclusion, the present study provides evidence that bias in PMGs could be observed both preconsciously and consciously. The results are discussed with reference to incentive sensitization theory and automatic action schema theory.

Open access

Abstract

Background and aims

We aimed to systematically identify, evaluate and summarize the research on adolescent emotion dysregulation and problematic technology use. We critically appraise strengths and limitations and provide recommendations for future research.

Methods

We followed the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and conducted a systematic review of published original reports on adolescent emotion dysregulation and problematic technology use published until March 1, 2022. A thorough search preceded the selection of studies matching prespecified criteria. Strengths and limitations of selected studies, regarding design and reporting, were identified based on current best practices.

Results

39 studies met inclusion criteria. All of these studies provided on the relationship between adolescent emotion dysregulation and problematic technology use severity based on self-report data.

Discussion

There was a positive correlation between adolescent emotion dysregulation and the severity of problematic technology use. Beyond this, other variables (such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem, etc.) were also closely related to emotion dysregulation and problematic technology use. Such studies are of importance to better understand cause-effect relations regarding both variables.

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
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