Relationship Between (Pathological) Internet Use and Sleep Problems in a Longitudinal Study (2019)

Prax Kinderpsychol Kinderpsychiatr. 2019 Feb;68(2):146-159. doi: 10.13109/prkk.2019.68.2.146.

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

Klar J1, Parzer P2, Koenig J2, Fischer-Waldschmidt G2, Brunner R2,3, Resch F2, Kaess M1.


in English, German

Relationship Between (Pathological) Internet Use and Sleep Problems in a Longitudinal Study Excessive or pathological Internet use has already been associated with sleep disorders, but the direction of the connection remains still uncertain. The relationship between (pathological) Internet use and sleep problems in adolescence was investigated by a representative longitudinal survey of data from a sample of 1,060 students from Heidelberg and the surrounding area (SEYLE study). The students, on average 15 years old, responded at a baseline and after one year to a survey on sleep and Internet use. In addition to the number of hours of Internet use, pathological Internet use was assessed using the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire (YDQ). Sleep duration and sleep problems were surveyed by self-assessment. The prevalence of adolescents with pathological Internet use was 3.71 % in the follow-up survey. Furthermore, 20.48 % of adolescents reported sleep problems. Pathological and excessive Internet use were predictors of sleep problems over the course of one year. Adolescents who met the criteria for Internet addiction to the baseline had a 3.6 times greater risk of developing sleep problems in the course of one year. Whereas sleep problems to the baseline increased the YDQ symptoms only by 0.22. Sleep problems often occur as a result of pathological Internet use and could have an addiction-enhancing effect as well as mediating further psychiatric comorbidities. Thus, sleep problems should be targeted for early intervention and therapeutic measures.

KEYWORDS: Computerspielsucht; Internet addiction; Internet gaming disorder; Internetsucht; Schlaf; Schlafstörungen; pathological Internet use; pathologische Internetnutzung; sleep; sleep disorder

PMID: 30757970

DOI: 10.13109/prkk.2019.68.2.146