Cross-Cultural Research on Internet Addiction: A Systematic Review

Olatz Lopez Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Internet addiction (IA) is the most studied behavioral addiction.However, few studies have been conducted that simultaneouslyinclude several countries to attain an inter-cultural and internationalperspective on the phenomenon. The aim of this systematic reviewis to observe the characteristics of cross-cultural IA studies, inorder to explore (i) their classification, (ii) the cultures involved, (iii)the IA issues treated, and (iv) the commonalities and differencesamong cultures. For this review the PsycINFO scientific databasewas selected to make searches without restrictions. Out of 23documents, 8 were selected (34.8%), after applying two researchpaper selection phases with the following specific inclusion criteria:the paper needs to be (i) an empirical cross-cultural study, (ii)focused on IA or other related online excessive behaviors, and (iii)published in a journal. Between 2008 and 2015, the results show that from 2012 onwards until the present, there has been a continuing increase of papers, mostly cross-national intercontinental studies that usually research IA in its generalized subtype and estimate its prevalence with classic and valid scales, while only one study focuses on video gaming. The continents involved are usually Asia,America and Europe, and the commonalities show that the higher rates of IA exist in Asian countries, in male users who spend a lot of hours online. Differences among countries and risk factors have however also been detected and cultural factors are usually not analyzed. More cross-cultural research on IA and other potentially addictive technologies and online activities is needed, so that we may further explore cultural factors and achieve higher external validity of the findings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Archives of Addiction Research and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

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