Dysfunctional internet behaviour symptoms in association with personality traits (2017)

Psychiatriki. 2017 Jul-Sep;28(3):211-218. doi: 10.22365/jpsych.2017.283.211.

Tsiolka E1,2, Bergiannaki ID1,3, Margariti M1, Malliori M1, Papageorgiou C1.


Internet addiction is a matter of great interest for researchers, taking into consideration Internet’s rapid spread and its ever growing use in children, adolescents and adults. It has been associated with multiple psychological symptoms and social difficulties, therefore raising even greater concerns for its adverse consequences. The present study that consists part of a broader research, aims to investigate the association between excessive Internet use and personality traits in an adult population. Specifically, the research examined the relation between dysfunctional internet behaviour and personality traits as neuroticism and extraversion, the two personality dimensions that have arisen as the most important ones in all relevant research. Our main hypotheses are that dysfunctional internet behaviour would be positively associated with neuroticism but negatively linked to extraversion. The 1211 participants aged over 18 years, completed the IAT (Internet Addiction Test) by Kimberly Young and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) and some other questionnaires detecting psychopathology. Additionally, part of the administered questionnaires concerned socio-demographic characteristics of the participant subjects: specifically sex, age, marital status, education (educational years), place of residence -urban, semi-urban and rural-, whether they suffer from somatic or mental health disorder and if they take medication for any of the above categories. All the questionnaires have been electronically completed by each participant. Results showed that 7.7% showed dysfunctional internet behaviour that concerns both medium and severe degree of dependence by the use of Internet, as measured by the use of IAT. The univariate logistic regression analysis revealed that the individuals exhibiting symptoms of dysfunctional internet behaviour were more likely to suffer from a chronic mental health disorder, to use psychotropic medication and to score higher on neuroticism. In contrast, they were less likely to have children and be extraverted. Multiple logistic regression analysis confirmed that neuroticism and extraversion were independently associated with dysfunctional internet behaviour. Individuals with high scores on neuroticism were more likely to meet the criteria for dysfunctional internet behaviour, while high scores on extraversion were associated with a lower probability of dysfunctional internet behaviour. Identification of personality traits that could be connected to some sort of “addictive personality” -particularly neuroticism and Introversion- might help researchers to identify and prevent internet addiction on the early stages and possibly could have a positive contribution to the therapeutic treatment of this addiction disorder.

PMID: 29072184

DOI: 10.22365/jpsych.2017.283.211