A Discriminant Analysis to Predict the Impact of Personality Traits, Self-Esteem, and Time Spent Online on Different Levels of Internet Addiction Risk among University Students

By Servidio, Rocco | Studia Psychologica, January 1, 2019 | Go to article overview

A Discriminant Analysis to Predict the Impact of Personality Traits, Self-Esteem, and Time Spent Online on Different Levels of Internet Addiction Risk among University Students


Servidio, Rocco, Studia Psychologica


Introduction

The classification of Internet addiction as a behavioral disorder remains a controversial matter. It has been described as an individual's uncontrollable and compulsive use of the Internet, which negatively affects academic and job performances, reduces sleep and hygiene quality, and leads to reduced interpersonal social relationships (Lyvers, Karantonis, Edwards, & Thorberg, 2016; Sahraian, Hedayati, Mani, & Hedayati, 2016; Young, 2015; Zhang et al., 2015). Furthermore, the conceptual model of Internet addiction incorporates tolerance, withdrawal, relapse, salience, conflict and mood modification as the core criteria for symptoms of addictive behavior (McNicol & Thorsteinsson, 2017). On the basis of the current literature, the conceptualization of Internet addiction has been identified as an umbrella term, which includes a wide range of problematic online behavior (e.g., online gaming, online gambling, online sex, and social networking) and is characterized by extreme preoccupation with connecting to the Internet, with poor behavior control of online activities resulting in a negative impact on personal well-being and quality of life (Monacis, Sinatra, Griffiths, & de Palo, 2018). Social media addiction is another recent kind of Internet addiction, which can be described as the inability to control oneself in the use of social networking sites (Andreassen, Pallesen, & Griffiths, 2017; Błachnio et al., 2018). The adverse consequences of social media addiction, as a sub-type of behavioral addiction, includes distress in interpersonal relationships, as well as mental and problematic social behavior in several daily-life activities (Nie et al., 2019).

Recently, the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2013)) has so far underlined the importance of including only Internet Gaming Disorder as a kind of emerging disturbance. It has been included in 'Section 3: Emerging Measures and Models' in order to better understand the nature of Internet addiction, and to possibly include it as a distinctive disorder in the next publication of DSM (Kuss, Griffiths, Karila, & Billieux, 2014).

From the time Internet addiction was first described almost 20 years ago as a clinical disorder (Young, 1998), many studies - also done with university students - have subsequently been conducted on several psychological correlates (Al-Gamal, Alzayyat, & Ahmad, 2016; Burnay, Billieux, Blairy, & Larøi, 2015; Chou et al., 2015; Monacis, de Palo, Griffiths, & Sinatra, 2017). On the other hand, other studies have focused, in relation to Internet addiction, on the following topics: personality traits and other risk factors (Kayiş et al., 2016; Li et al., 2017; Öztürk, Bektas, Ayar, Özgüven Öztornacı, & Yağcı, 2015; Sahraian et al., 2016; Servidio, 2014); and overweight socially stigmatized adolescents (Gentile, Servidio, Caci, & Boca, 2018).

Focusing on personality traits, the Big Five represents the classical theoretical model for categorizing a subject's individuality (Caprara, Barbaranelli, & Borgogni, 2005; Costa & McCrae, 1992). Concisely, this model identifies five dimensions in human personality traits: extraversion (reflecting expansiveness and energy), agreeableness (reflecting concern and politeness), conscientiousness (reflecting orderliness and precision), emotional stability (reflecting the capacity to cope with anxiety and emotionality), and openness (reflecting openness to novelty and interest towards different people and cultures).

A recent meta-analysis has examined 12 studies, which have found that all the Big Five personality traits are involved in Internet addiction (Kayiş et al., 2016). In particular, traits such as openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness were negatively associated with Internet addiction, whereas a positive correlation was observed with emotional stability. …

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