Internet Addiction Test

AIM:

To assess the level of behavioural addiction namely Internet addiction using the Internet Addiction Test.

INTRODUCTION :

Behavioural addiction/process addiction/ natural reward refers to different mental health conditions in which a person engages in a particular behaviour repeatedly; even if the behaviour causes them harm—it may seem as if they simply cannot resist engaging in it.

Behavioural addiction is a form of addiction that involves an overwhelming desire to engage in a reinforcing non-substance-related behaviour despite any negative repercussions to the person’s biopsychosocial and physical well-being.

The most recent version of the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists only one behavioural addiction (gambling disorder), three behavioural compulsions (hoarding disorder, trichotillomania, and excoriation), and one impulse-control disorder (kleptomania).

Characteristics traits of behaviour addiction are :

  • Preoccupation with the behaviour.
  • Lessened ability to control the behaviour.
  • Increased tolerance to the behaviour to get the desired gratification.
  • Experiencing withdrawal if the behaviour is avoided or resisted.
  • Experiencing adverse psychological consequences, such as depression or anxiety symptoms, when the behaviour is avoided or resisted.

Types of Addictive Behaviour:

Although not all of these addictions are recognized by the DSM-5, the leading diagnostic guide for the mental health profession, many healthcare providers believe these are “real” addictions. And some behavioural addictions are more common than others, including:

  1. Gambling addiction: Gambling disorder involves repeated problematic gambling behaviour that causes significant problems or distress. Also called compulsive gambling.
  2. Sex addiction: This describes a compulsive need to perform sexual acts to achieve the kind of high individuals with alcohol use disorders or opiates use disorders experience when they drink or use the drugs.
  3. Internet addiction: It is characterized by excessive or poorly controlled preoccupations, urges or behaviours regarding computer use and internet access that lead to impairment or distress.
  4. Shopping addiction: Also known as Oniomania that involves compulsive buying as a way to feel good and avoid negative feelings, such as anxiety and depression.
  5. Video game addiction: It is excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games that interferes with a person’s everyday life.
  6. Food addiction: Food addiction is what’s called a process addiction. This means addiction not so much to the food itself but to the feelings you get from eating it. As soon as a person experiences pleasure associated with an increase in dopamine transmission in the brain’s reward pathway from eating specific foods, they feel the urge to eat again.
  7. Exercise addiction: An unhealthy obsession with exercise and physical fitness. This is often correlated with eating disorders or body image issues.
  8. Work Addiction: Work addiction, often called workaholism, s the inability to stop the behaviour. It can often occur as a result of a desire for status and success, or as a way to cope with stress.
  9. Love Addiction: It is a pathological passion-related behaviour involving the feeling of being in love.
  10. Porn Addiction: Addiction to porn is considered to be a type of sex addiction and can manifest itself differently than other types of sex addiction.Tattoo addiction: When we get tattoos adrenaline and endorphins are released into the body. These natural effects can also be observed through other physical activities, including exercise and sex. Some people enjoy the “rush” they feel from a tattoo so much, that the process of getting tattooed can become addictive.

Internet addiction :

Internet technology is relatively new and has had a large impact on society and provided a number of benefits to its users. Unfortunately, it has also led to negative consequences. Many people have become engrossed in the Internet, are unable to control their electronic device use, and are jeopardizing their schooling, careers, and relationships. The concept of “Internet addiction” has been proposed as an explanation for the uncontrollable, damaging use of technology to access the Internet. Symptoms are compared to the criteria used to diagnose other addictions. In literature, Internet addiction has been described as an impulse control disorder that resembles pathological gambling in terms of its diagnostic criteria and symptomatology.  

The Internet Addiction Test (IAT):

Young 1998, developed a test to measure the presence and severity of Internet and technology dependency among adults. Internet Addiction is becoming an increasingly common cultural and clinical problem that needs to be assessed and treated. It is the first validated psychometric test used in mental health settings and schools. A variety of settings can be used to administer the IAT in order to assess Internet addiction symptoms, including a private practice clinic, schools, hospitals, and residential programs. The term Internet is used to refer to all contact that individuals have with web-based services, including websites, Internet-based games, social media, and online entertainment, accessed on all types of computers, screens, devices, phones, portable electronic devices, and other forms of technology.  

While diagnosing Internet addiction is not a direct function of time spent using the Internet, early studies suggested that those classified as dependent or addicted online users were generally excessive about their online usage, spending anywhere from forty to eighty hours per week using the Internet, with sessions that could last up to twenty hours. Sleep patterns were disrupted due to late-night log-ins; addicts generally stayed up surfing until late in the night, with the reality of having to wake up early for work or school. In some cases, caffeine pills were used to extend Internet sessions. Such sleep deprivation caused excessive fatigue, impairing academic or occupational performance that also increased the risk of poor diet and exercise. Researchers have compared Internet addiction to a syndrome similar to impulse-control disorders listed on the Axis I Scale of the DSM and used various forms of DSM-IV criteria to define Internet addiction. Pathological Gambling was considered the most similar to this phenomenon of all the references in the DSM. Young (1998) developed the Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ) as an initial screening tool.  

Shapiro et al., (2003) proposed a more comprehensive method of diagnosing Internet addiction for DSM-IV-TR which widened the diagnosis of problematic Internet use. These criteria included:  

  1. Having a maladaptive preoccupation with Internet use, as indicated by at least one of the following:
    • Preoccupations with use of the Internet that are experienced as irresistible.
    • Internet use that goes beyond the planned time.
  2. When one uses the Internet excessively or spends too much time on it, it negatively impacts social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  3. The excessive use of the Internet does not appear to occur exclusively during periods of hypomania or mania and is not better explained by another axis I disorders. Most recently, the American Psychiatric Association has included Internet Gaming Disorder (APA, 2013) in the most recent revision of the DSM (DSM-5) as a condition for further study.

Appropriate Uses: The IAT measures the severity of self-reported compulsive use of the Internet for adults and adolescents. The IAT is designed to be administered to the experienced Internet user who utilizes this technology on a frequent basis. As it may be difficult for individuals to accurately self-reflect on their Internet use with general questions, it would be appropriate to administer the IAT to anyone who has indicated that they’ve used the Internet within the past week, to screen for the presence of addictive Internet behaviors. Results from the IAT should be interpreted with caution among clinical populations that suffer from psychiatric conditions concurrent with compulsive syndromes, as indications of addictive Internet-related behavior may be better attributed to other psychiatric disorders.

Development: The items for the IAT were drawn from earlier research and clinical studies that explored various aspects of online behavior and profiled characteristics that differentiate ‘normal’ online users from compulsive online users (e.g., Greenfield, 1999; Griffiths, 1996; Morahan-Martin, 1997; Young, 1997a, 1997b, 1998, 1999). Characteristics of compulsive online users include: a preoccupation with the Internet, lying about the behavior, a loss of interest in other interests and/or people only to prefer more time online, using the Internet as a form of escape, an inability to control the behavior, and impairment in functioning. Compulsives also reported frequent time distortion, sleep deprivation, increased social isolation, being secretive about online activities or a sudden demand for privacy when online, and persona development when online. Studies typically evaluated non-essential Internet usage (i.e., non-business or academically related use) over a six-month period, when not better accounted for by a manic episode.

METHODOLOGY

DEMOGRAPHIC DETAILS OF THE SUBJECT :

  • Name- NR
  • Age- 22
  • Gender- Female
  • Education- B.Sc

TOOL USED

Internet Addiction Test- The IAT is designed for the experienced Internet user who utilizes this technology on a frequent basis. The 20-item IAT questionnaire measures characteristics and behaviors associated with compulsive use of the Internet that includes compulsivity, escapism, and dependency. Questions also assess problems related to personal, occupational, and social functioning stemming from Internet use. Examinees respond to each statement with a number between 1 and 5, representing a Likert scale continuum, indicating the extent to which they endorse that particular behavior. The scale was created by adapting DSM-IV criteria for pathological gambling to pertain to Internet use and is a modification of the earlier 8-item scale, Young’s Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ). The IAT views Internet addiction as an impulse-control disorder and the term Internet refers to all types of online activity. The IAT is the most widely used Internet addiction scale in the world and has been translated into several languages including English, Chinese, French, Italian, Turkish, and Korean.

RAPPORT FORMATION-

To begin forming rapport and making the participant comfortable, the participant was told about the test, the purpose of testing, and given assurance of confidentiality and informed consent. It was ensured that the study outline and all the other necessary details were discussed in the language that the participant was comfortable with, the participant was made aware of his freedom to participate voluntarily and drop out of the study at any point. All the concerns and queries of the participant were readily addressed including confidentiality and informed consent to gain complete trust from the participant. After taking the consent form, further proceedings with the study were made.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Following instructions were given to the subject :

“The following questionnaire consists of 20 statements. After listening to the statement carefully, based upon the 5-point Likert scale, please select the response (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) which best describes you. On the low side, 0 indicates the statement is Not Applicable to your life, 1 indicates that the statement is something that you rarely engage in, 2 indicates that the statement is something that you occasionally engage in, 3 indicates that the statement is something you frequently engage in, 4 indicates that the statement is something you often engage in, and 5 indicates that the statement is something that you always engage in. If two choices seem to apply equally well, circle the choice that best represents how you are most of the time during the past month. Be sure to read all the statements carefully before making your choice. The statements refer to offline situations or actions unless otherwise specified.”

After these instructions are given, a copy of the IAT is given to the respondent who is told, “Here is a copy for you, that you can follow.” The administrator may invoke tactfully the need for the respondent to consider their decision thoroughly before deciding. At the end of testing, a careful inspection of all the ratings will ensure that no responses have been omitted. The administrator should ask the respondent to rate any responses that have been left out. If the client explains that he or she is unsure, the administrator should tell the client to make a rating based upon his or her first impression.  

PROCEDURE

The experiment started with rapport formation wherein the subject was made comfortable. The subject was been explained about the scale, its purpose, and was seated around to feel at comfort. After giving the instructions, the test was been provided and was asked to perform.

RESULTS

The IAT total score is the sum of the ratings given by the examinee for the 20 item responses. An item is rated on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 to 5. There was a maximum score of 100. The higher the IAT total score, the greater the level of internet addiction and compulsivity. The subject scored a total of 15, which indicates the normal level of internet usage.  

INTERPRETATION & DISCUSSION

The subject scored a total of 15, which indicates the normal level of internet usage. Because an IAT total score yields only an estimate of the overall severity of Internet addiction being described by a person, we also consider other aspects of psychological functioning exhibited by the person, particularly any co-morbid symptoms of chronic impulsively, clinical depression, or relational difficulties that may elevate scores. But since the subject results depicted a normal level of internet usage, therefore, it shows no symptom characteristics of salience, excessive use, neglect of work, anticipation, lack of control, and neglect social life.

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