The association between Internet addiction and personality disorders in a general population-based sample (2016)

J Behav Addict. 2016 Dec;5(4):691-699. doi: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.086.

Zadra S1, Bischof G1, Besser B1, Bischof A1, Meyer C2, John U2, Rumpf HJ1.


Background and aims

Data on Internet addiction (IA) and its association with personality disorder are rare. Previous studies are largely restricted to clinical samples and insufficient measurement of IA.


Cross-sectional analysis data are based on a German sub-sample (n = 168; 86 males; 71 meeting criteria for IA) with increased levels of excessive Internet use derived from a general population sample (n = 15,023). IA was assessed with a comprehensive standardized interview using the structure of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and the criteria of Internet Gaming Disorder as suggested in DSM-5. Impulsivity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and self-esteem were assessed with the widely used questionnaires.


Participants with IA showed higher frequencies of personality disorders (29.6%) compared to those without IA (9.3%; p < .001). In males with IA, Cluster C personality disorders were more prevalent than among non-addicted males. Compared to participants who had IA only, lower rates of remission of IA were found among participants with IA and additional cluster B personality disorder. Personality disorders were significantly associated with IA in multivariate analysis.


Comorbidity of IA and personality disorders must be considered in prevention and treatment.

KEYWORDS:  ADHD; IA; impulsivity; personality disorders; self-esteem

PMID: 28005417

DOI: 10.1556/2006.5.2016.086