Pathological Internet Use Is on the Rise Among European Adolescents (2016)

J Adolesc Health. 2016 Jun 3. pii: S1054-139X(16)30037-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.04.009. [

Kaess M1, Parzer P2, Brunner R2, Koenig J3, Durkee T4, Carli V4, Wasserman C5, Hoven CW6, Sarchiapone M7, Bobes J8, Cosman D9, Värnik A10, Resch F2, Wasserman D4.



Increased Internet accessibility has been accompanied by an increased awareness of pathological Internet use (PIU). The aim of the study was to investigate a potential increase of PIU among European adolescents.


Comparable data from two large cross-sectional multicentre, school-based studies conducted in 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 in five European countries (Estonia, Germany, Italy, Romania, and Spain) were used. The Young’s Diagnostic Questionnaire was used to assess the prevalence of PIU.


The comparison of the two samples provides evidence that the prevalence of PIU is on the rise (4.01%-6.87%, odds ratio = 1.69, p < .001) except in Germany. Comparison with data on Internet accessibility suggests that the rise in prevalence of adolescent PIU may be a consequence of increased Internet accessibility.


Our findings are the first data to confirm the rise of PIU among European adolescents. They definitively warrant further efforts in the implementation and evaluation of preventive interventions.

Copyright © 2016 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Adolescents; Internet addiction; Pathological Internet use; Prevalence; SEYLE; WE-STAY