Cue-induced craving for Internet among Internet addicts (2016)

Addict Behav. 2016 Jun 7;62:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.06.012.

Niu GF1, Sun XJ2, Subrahmanyam K3, Kong FC1, Tian Y1, Zhou ZK4.


Intense craving is a core feature of addictive disorder, and cue-induced craving is believed to be a key factor in the maintenance and relapse of addictive behaviors. With the rapid development of the Internet, Internet addiction has become a widespread behavioral problem accompanied by many negative effects. This study used the cue-reactivity paradigm to examine cue-induced craving for the Internet among Internet addicts and non-addicts. Participants were exposed to Internet-related words, and asked to report their craving for the Internet.

Results indicated that Internet-related words aroused cue-induced craving for the Internet among both Internet addicts and non-addicts; however, the craving was more intense among Internet addicts. These results suggest that craving may not be a unipolar, all or none state found only in addicts, but may also be present among non-addicts. They indicate that Internet-related words may be able to induce craving for the Internet, and that Internet addiction and other addictions may share similar underlying mechanisms. This finding has important implications for designing interventions for Internet addiction.

KEYWORDS: Cue-induced craving; Incentive sensitization model; Internet addiction

PMID: 27305097