No site unseen: predicting the failure to control problematic Internet use among young adults (2016)

Cogn Behav Ther. 2016 Jul 18:1-5.

Yamada T1, Moshier SJ1, Otto MW1.


Problematic Internet use has been associated with the neglect of valued activities such as work, exercise, social activities, and relationships. In the present study, we expanded the understanding of problematic Internet use by identifying an important predictor of the inability to curb Internet use despite the desire to do so. Specifically, in a college student sample reporting a mean of 27.8 h of recreational Internet use in the past week, we investigated the role of distress intolerance (DI)-an individual difference variable that refers to the inability of an individual to tolerate emotional discomfort and to engage in goal-directed behavior when distressed-to predict the failure to meet personal restrictions on Internet use. Consistent with hypotheses, DI emerged as a significant predictor of the failure to meet self-control goals in both bivariate and multivariate models, indicating that DI offers unique prediction of self-control failure with problematic Internet use. Given that DI is a modifiable trait, these results encourage consideration of DI-focused early intervention strategies.

KEYWORDS: Internet addiction; Problematic Internet use; anxiety sensitivity; impulsivity; self-control