Internet addiction and attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder symptoms in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (2019)

Res Dev Disabil. 2019 Mar 13;89:22-28. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2019.03.002.

Kawabe K1, Horiuchi F2, Miyama T3, Jogamoto T4, Aibara K4, Ishii E5, Ueno SI6.



Several studies have reported that internet addiction (IA) is more prevalent in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the characteristics of ASD adolescents with IA are unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence of IA in ASD adolescents, and compare the characteristics between the IA and the non-IA groups in adolescents with ASD.


The study included 55 participants who were outpatients at Ehime University Hospital and Ehime Rehabilitation Center for Children in Japan, aged 10-19 years, diagnosed with ASD. Patients and their parents answered several questionnaires including the Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Rating Scale-IV (ADHD-RS).


Based on the total IAT score, 25 out of 55 participants were classified as having IA. Although there were no significant differences in AQ and Intelligence Quotient, the higher scores of ADHD symptoms in SDQ and ADHD-RS were observed in the IA group than the non-IA group. The IA group used portable games more often than the non-IA group.


The ADHD symptoms were strongly associated with IA in ASD adolescents. More intensive prevention and intervention for IA are needed especially for the ASD adolescents with ADHD symptoms.

KEYWORDS: Addiction; Adolescent; Attention-deficit disorder with hyperactivity; Autism; Internet

PMID: 30877993

DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2019.03.002