A meta-analysis of psychological interventions for Internet/smartphone addiction among adolescents (2020)

J Behav Addict. 2019 Dec 1;8(4):613-624. doi: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.72.

Malinauskas R1, Malinauskiene V1.



Although the peculiarities of problematic Internet use and Internet addiction have been analyzed previously by researchers, there is still no general agreement in the literature as to the effectiveness of psychological interventions for Internet addiction deployed among adolescents. This study sought to investigate the effects of intervention programs for Internet/smartphone addiction among adolescents through a meta-analysis.


We searched MEDLINE (PubMed), EbscoHost Academic Search Complete, ProQuest, and PsycARTICLES using a combination of “Internet addiction or phone addiction” AND “intervention or treatment” OR “therapy” OR “program” AND “adolescents,” and a combination of the following search terms: “patholog_,” “problem_,” “addict_,” “compulsive,” “dependen_,” “video,” “computer,” “Internet,” “online,” “intervention,” “treat_,” and “therap_.” The studies identified during the search were reviewed according to the criteria and a meta-analysis was conducted on the six selected papers published from 2000 to 2019. Only studies with a control/comparison group that performed preintervention and postintervention assessments were included.


Included studies showed a trend toward a beneficial effect of intervention on the severity of Internet addictions. The meta-analysis suggested significant effects of all included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and their educational programs.


Psychological interventions may help to reduce addiction severity, but further RCTs are needed to identify the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy. This study provides a basis for developing future programs addressing addiction problems among adolescents.

KEYWORDS: Internet/smartphone addiction; adolescents; meta-analysis

PMID: 31891316

DOI: 10.1556/2006.8.2019.72