Internet abusers associate with a depressive state but not a depressive trait (2013)

COMMENTS: Internet addiction was associated with depressive states, but NOT with depressive traits. This means that Internet use was the likely cause of depression. Put simply, depression was not a pre-existing condition.

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2013 Dec 8. doi: 10.1111/pcn.12124.

Huang AC, Chen HE, Wang YC, Wang LM.


Department of Psychology, Fo Guang University, Yi-Lan, Taiwan.



The present study investigated three issues: (i) whether Internet abusers display a depressive state without a depressive trait; (ii) which symptoms are shared between Internet abuse and depression; and (iii) which personality characteristics were shown in Internet abusers.


Ninety-nine male and 58 female participants aged 18-24 years were screened with the Chen Internet Addiction Scale. After screening, subjects were separated into the high- (n = 73) and low-risk (n = 84) Internet abuser groups. Participants were respectively administered the Chinese version of the Beck Depression Inventory-II to assess a depressive state and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 to assess a depressive trait.


The present results showed that high-risk Internet abusers exhibited a stronger depressive state than low-risk Internet abusers in the Beck Depression Inventory-II. However, high-risk Internet abusers didnot show a depressive trait in the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 compared to low-risk Internet abusers. Therefore, high-risk Internet abuse participants exhibited a depressive state without a depressive trait.


In a comparison of the symptoms of depression and Internet abuse, it was found that high-risk Internet abuse participants shared some common behavioral mechanisms with depression, including the psychiatric symptoms of loss of interest, aggressive behavior, depressive mood, and guilty feelings. High-risk Internet abuse participants may be more susceptible to a temporal depressive state but not a permanent depressive trait. The present findings have clinical implications for the prevention and treatment of Internet abuse.

© 2013 The Authors. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences © 2013 Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology.