An analysis of integrated health care for Internet Use Disorders in adolescents and adults (2017)

J Behav Addict. 2017 Nov 24:1-14. doi: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.065.

Lindenberg K1, Szász-Janocha C1, Schoenmaekers S1, Wehrmann U2, Vonderlin E3.


Background and aims

Although first treatment approaches for Internet Use Disorders (IUDs) have proven to be effective, health care utilization remained low. New service models focus on integrated health care systems, which facilitate access and reduce burdens of health care utilization, and stepped-care interventions, which efficiently provide individualized therapy.


An integrated health care approach for IUD intended to (a) be easily accessible and comprehensive, (b) cover a variety of comorbid syndromes, and (c) take heterogeneous levels of impairment into account was investigated in a one-armed prospective intervention study on n = 81 patients, who were treated from 2012 to 2016.


First, patients showed significant improvement in Compulsive Internet Use over time, as measured by hierarchical linear modeling. Effect sizes of outcome change from baseline to 6-month follow-up ranged from d = 0.48 to d = 1.46. Second, differential effects were found depending on patients’ compliance, demonstrating that high compliance resulted in significantly higher rates of change. Third, patients referred to minimal interventions did not differ significantly in amount of change from patients referred to intensive psychotherapy.


Tailored interventions result in higher efficiency through optimized resource allocation and equal amounts of symptom change in all treatment conditions. Moreover, comprehensive, low-threshold interventions seem to increase health service utilization.

KEYWORDS: Internet Gaming Disorder; Internet addiction; integrated health care; mental health; stepped-care; treatment

PMID: 29171280

DOI: 10.1556/2006.6.2017.065