Problematic Linkages in Adolescents: Italian Adaptation of a Measure for Internet-Related Problems

Problematic Linkages in Adolescents: Italian Adaptation of a Measure for Internet-Related Problems

Valentina Boursier (University of Naples Federico II, Italy) and Valentina Manna (Association for Social Promotion Roots in Action, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8900-6.ch015
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Internet usage represents a risky opportunity for the youngest. Due to its social, communicative and emotional function in adolescents' lives, it may provide benefits and facilitations to their relationships. On the other hand, the excessive use of the Internet can harmfully affect their daily routines, with negative effects on their psychological state. Considering the widespread use of the Internet in everyday life during this developmental stage, the authors question the applicability of the concept of “addiction” and provide empirical data about the adaption of a useful instrument to measure problematic relationships with the Internet. The establishment of a cut-off procedure is proposed for screening purpose to identify at risk and problematic users. Moreover, differences by gender and age are explored and discussed. A comprehensive model of the Problematic Relationships with the Internet is presented and analyzed in comparison with the main perspectives and measures in literature.
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In the framework of psychopathology, several studies are concordant in identifying new forms of addictions, mostly behavioural (without substances). As noted by Bianchi & Phillips (2005), «the traditional concept of addiction was based on a medical model and referred to dependence associated with the ingestion of a substance, either drugs or alcohol. Lately, researchers have begun to question this medical model of addiction as the definitive model and have stated that the concept of addiction needs to cover a broader range of behaviors. Many researchers have thus argued for the validity of a behavioral addiction model» (p.40). Likely, among the non-chemical addictions (Marks, 1990), the Internet addiction is the most discussed.

According to Douglas and colleagues (2008), over the brief academic history on the Internet addiction, one of the most challenging tasks has been to get a unique definition of the concept. Researchers in the field have been unable to find a comprehensive term to describe the Internet overuse or abuse. Indeed, a standard and consensual definition of Internet addiction is still lacking (Laconi, Rodgers, & Chabrol, 2014; Spada, 2014) whilst various terms have been used to name the general “Problematic Internet Use” condition (Kuss, Griffiths, Karila, & Billieux, 2014; Tokunaga, & Rains, 2016). Among them, we can include: Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) (Young, 1998b), Pathological Internet Use (Davis, 2001), Problematic Internet Use (Morahan-Martin, & Schumacher, 2000; Caplan, 2002), Excessive Internet Use (Widyanto, & Griffiths, 2006), and Compulsive Internet (or Computer) Use (Chou, & Hsiao, 2000; Johansson, & Götestam, 2004; Van den Eijnden, Meerkerk,Vermulst, Spijkerman, & Engels, 2008; Kuss, Griffiths, Karila, & Billieux, 2014).

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