Scientific article
Open access

Problematic Internet Use among Adults: A Cross-Cultural Study in 15 Countries

Published inJournal of clinical medicine, vol. 12, no. 3, 1027
Publication date2023-01-29
First online date2023-01-29

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.

  • Cross-cultural research
  • Impulsivity
  • Internet addiction
  • Problematic gambling
  • Problematic gaming
  • Problematic internet use
  • Problematic online sex
  • Problematic online shopping
  • Problematic social networking
  • Psychopathology
  • European Commission - Technological use disorders: European cross-cultural longitudinal and experimental studies for Internet and smartphone problem uses [627999]
Citation (ISO format)
LOPEZ-FERNANDEZ, Olatz et al. Problematic Internet Use among Adults: A Cross-Cultural Study in 15 Countries. In: Journal of clinical medicine, 2023, vol. 12, n° 3, p. 1027. doi: 10.3390/jcm12031027
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2077-0383

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