Psychopathological symptoms in individuals at risk of Internet addiction in the context of selected demographic factors (2019)

Ann Agric Environ Med. 2019 Mar 22;26(1):33-38. doi: 10.26444/aaem/81665.

Potembska E1, Pawłowska B2, Szymańska J3.



Researchers who study the problems of Internet addiction point out that this dependence is often co-morbid with symptoms of a variety of pathological disorders, including anxiety, depressive, somatization, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The goal of this study was to compare the severity of psychopathological symptoms in individuals at risk of Internet addiction (according to Young’s criteria) and those not at risk of developing this addiction with respect to gender and place of residence (urban vs. rural).


The study included a group of 692 respondents (485 females and 207 males). The average age of the participants was 20.8 years. 56.06% of them lived in urban areas and 43.94% in rural areas. The following instruments were used: a sociodemographic questionnaire designed by the authors, Young’s 20-item Internet Addiction Test (IAT, Polish translation by Majchrzak and Ogińska-Bulik), and the “O” Symptom Checklist (Kwestionariusz Objawowy “O”, in Polish) by Aleksandrowicz.


Individuals at risk of Internet addiction showed significantly more severe pathological symptoms than the individuals who were not at risk of this addiction. There were differences in the severity of psychopathological symptoms between people at risk of Internet dependence living in urban and rural areas.


Individuals at risk of Internet addiction were found to be characterized by a significantly higher severity of obsessive-compulsive, conversion, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. Persons at risk of Internet addiction who lived in rural areas had significantly more severe psychopathological symptoms, mainly obsessive-compulsive, hypochondriac and phobic, compared to their urban peers.

KEYWORDS: Internet addiction; anxiety; depression; gender; obsessive-compulsive disorder; psychopathological symptoms; rural; urban

PMID: 30922026

DOI: 10.26444/aaem/81665