Comput Human Behav. 2016 Sep;62:475-479.
Internet addiction (including online gaming) has been associated with depression. However, most prior research relating internet addiction symptomatology to depressive symptoms has been cross-sectional, conducted with children and adolescents, and only examined depressive symptoms as a broad construct. The purpose of the current study was to examine potential longitudinal associations between anhedonia (i.e., difficulty experiencing pleasure, a key facet of depression) and internet-related addictive behaviors in 503 at-risk emerging adults (former attendees of alternative high schools). Participants completed surveys at baseline and approximately one year later (9-18 months later). Results indicated that trait anhedonia prospectively predicted greater levels of compulsive internet use and addiction to online activities as well as a greater likelihood of addiction to online/offline video games. These findings suggest that anhedonia may contribute to the development of internet-related addictive behaviors in the emerging adult population. Thus, interventions that target anhedonia in emerging adulthood (e.g., bupropion treatment or behavioral activation therapy) may help prevent or treat internet addiction.
KEYWORDS: anhedonia; compulsive internet use; depression; emerging adults; internet addiction; video gaming