Association of Internet addiction and alexithymia – A scoping review (2018)

Addict Behav. 2018 Feb 6. pii: S0306-4603(18)30067-4. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.02.004.

Mahapatra A1, Sharma P2.


It has been hypothesized that individuals with alexithymia who have difficulty in identifying, expressing, and communicating emotions may overuse Internet as a tool of social interaction to better regulate their emotions and to fulfill their unmet social needs. Similarly, an increasing body of evidence suggests that alexithymia may also play an essential role in the etiopathogenesis of addictive disorders. We conducted a scoping review of questionnaire-based studies of problematic Internet use/Internet addiction and alexithymia. From initial 51 studies, all of the final 12 included studies demonstrated a significant positive association between scores of alexithymia and severity of Internet addiction. However, the causal direction of the association is not clear because the interplay of numerous other variables that could affect the relation has not been studied. There are limitations in the methodology of the studies conducted. Hence, we emphasise the need for longitudinal studies with stronger methodologies.

KEYWORDS: Alexithymia; Internet addiction; Problematic Internet Use

PMID: 29429757

DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.02.004