Compr Psychiatry. 2018 Sep 26;87:89-94. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2018.09.007.
Internet use is already high and increasing rapidly among people with psychotic disorders, but there have been few studies on problematic Internet use (PIU) among patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. This study aimed to measure the prevalence of PIU and identify the factors associated with PIU among patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
A cross-sectional survey was performed that included 368 outpatients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders: 317 with schizophrenia, 22 with schizoaffective disorder, 9 with schizophreniform disorder, and 20 with other schizophrenia spectrum and psychotic disorders. The severity of psychotic symptoms and levels of personal and social functioning were assessed by the Clinician-rated Dimensions of Psychosis Symptom Severity (CRDPSS) scale and the Personal and Social Performance (PSP) scale, respectively. PIU was evaluated using Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT). Additionally, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), Rosenberg Selfesteem Scale (RSES), and Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE) Inventory were administered.
PIU was identified in 81 (22.0%) of the 368 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Subjects with PIU were significantly younger and more likely to be male. Scores on the HADS, PSS, and dysfunctional coping dimension of the Brief COPE Inventory were significantly higher, and RSES scores were significantly lower, in the PIU group. Logistic regression analysis indicated that PIU in patients was significantly associated with scores on the PSS and dysfunctional coping dimension of the Brief COPE Inventory.
Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and PIU were significantly more likely to have high levels of perceived stress and dysfunctional coping strategies. Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders who also engage in PIU may benefit from interventions that help them to develop appropriate skills for coping with stress.