Problematic Internet use in British adolescents: An exploration of the addictive symptomatology

Olatz Lopez-Fernandez, M. Luisa Honrubia-Serrano, William Gibson, Mark D. Griffiths

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Research into online addictions has increased substantially over the last decade, particularly amongst youth. This study adapted the Problematic Internet Entertainment Use Scale for Adolescents [PIEUSA] for use with a British population. The adapted scale was used to (i) validate the instrument for English-speaking adolescent samples, (ii) estimate the prevalence of adolescent online problem users and describe their profile, and (iii) assess the accuracy of the scale's classification of symptomatology. A survey was administered to 1097 adolescents aged between 11 and 18 years. The results indicated that (i) reliability of the adapted scale was excellent; factor validity showed unidimensionality, and construct validity was adequate. The findings also indicated that (ii) prevalence of online problem users was 5.2% and that they were more likely to younger males that engaged in online gaming for more than two hours most days. The majority of online problem users displayed negative addictive symptoms, especially 'loss of control' and 'conflict'. The adapted scale showed (iii) very good sensitivity, specificity, and classification accuracy, and was able to clearly differentiate between problem and non-problem users. The results suggest certain differences between adolescent and adult online problem users based in the predominance of slightly different psychological components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-233
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Internet addiction
  • Internet gaming disorder
  • Online gaming addiction
  • Problematic Internet use
  • Symptoms

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