Impaired inhibition and working memory in response to internet-related words among adolescents with internet addiction: A comparison with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (2016)

Psychiatry Res. 2016 Jan 5. pii: S0165-1781(15)30150-5. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.01.004.

Nie J1, Zhang W2, Chen J1, Li W1.


Impairments in response inhibition and working memory functions have been found to be closely associated with internet addiction (IA) symptoms and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. In this study, we examined response inhibition and working memory processes with two different materials (internet-related and internet-unrelated stimuli) among adolescents with IA, ADHD and co-morbid IA/ADHD. Twenty-four individuals with IA, 28 individuals with ADHD, 17 individuals with IA/ADHD, and 26 matched normal controls (NC) individuals were recruited. All participants were measured with a Stop-Signal Task and 2-Back Task under the same experimental conditions. In comparison to the NC group, subjects with IA, ADHD and IA/ADHD demonstrated impaired inhibition and working memory. In addition, in comparison to internet-unrelated conditions, IA and co-morbid subjects performed worse on the internet-related condition in the Stop trials during the stop-signal task, and they showed better working memory on the internet-related condition in the 2-Back Task. The findings of our study suggest individuals with IA and IA/ADHD may be impaired in inhibition and working memory functions that might be linked to poor inhibition specifically related to internet-related stimuli, which will advance our understanding of IA and contribute to prevention and intervention strategies.