Prevalence of Pathological Internet Use in a Representative German Sample of Adolescents: Results of a Latent Profile Analysis (2014)

Psychopathology. 2014 Oct 22.

Wartberg L1, Kriston L, Kammerl R, Petersen KU, Thomasius R.


Background: Pathological internet use is of increasing significance in several industrial nations.

Sampling and Methods: We surveyed a representative German quota sample of 1,723 adolescents (aged 14-17 years) and 1 caregiver each. We conducted a latent profile analysis to identify a high-risk group for pathological internet use.

Results: Overall, 3.2% of the sample formed a profile group with pathological internet use. In contrast to other published studies, the results of the latent profile analysis were verified not only by self-assessments of the youth’s but also by external ratings of the caregivers. In addition to the pathological internet use, the high-risk group showed lower levels of family functioning and life satisfaction as well as more problems in family interactions.

Conclusions: The results showed a considerable prevalence of pathological internet use in adolescents and emphasized the need for preventive and therapeutic approaches.