Examining the unique relationships between problematic use of the internet and impulsive and compulsive tendencies: network approach

Chang Liu, Kristian Rotaru, Lei Ren, Samuel R. Chamberlain, Erynn Christensen, Mary-Ellen Brierley, Karyn Richardson, Rico S.C. Lee, Rebecca Segrave, Jon E. Grant, Edouard Kayayan, Sam Hughes, Leonardo F. Fontenelle, Amelia Lowe, Chao Suo, René Freichel, Reinout W. Wiers, Murat Yücel, Lucy Albertella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background Both impulsivity and compulsivity have been identified as risk factors for problematic use of the internet (PUI). Yet little is known about the relationship between impulsivity, compulsivity and individual PUI symptoms, limiting a more precise understanding of mechanisms underlying PUI. Aims The current study is the first to use network analysis to (a) examine the unique association among impulsivity, compulsivity and PUI symptoms, and (b) identify the most influential drivers in relation to the PUI symptom community. Method We estimated a Gaussian graphical model consisting of five facets of impulsivity, compulsivity and individual PUI symptoms among 370 Australian adults (51.1% female, mean age = 29.8, s.d. = 11.1). Network structure and bridge expected influence were examined to elucidate differential associations among impulsivity, compulsivity and PUI symptoms, as well as identify influential nodes bridging impulsivity, compulsivity and PUI symptoms. Results Results revealed that four facets of impulsivity (i.e. negative urgency, positive urgency, lack of premeditation and lack of perseverance) and compulsivity were related to different PUI symptoms. Further, compulsivity and negative urgency were the most influential nodes in relation to the PUI symptom community due to their highest bridge expected influence. Conclusions The current findings delineate distinct relationships across impulsivity, compulsivity and PUI, which offer insights into potential mechanistic pathways and targets for future interventions in this space. To realise this potential, future studies are needed to replicate the identified network structure in different populations and determine the directionality of the relationships among impulsivity, compulsivity and PUI symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere104
Number of pages7
JournalBJPsych Open
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2024

Keywords

  • Compulsivity
  • impulsivity
  • network analysis
  • problematic use of the internet (PUI)

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