The characteristics of decision making, potential to take risks, and personality of college students with Internet addiction (2010

 COMMENTS: Amazingly, the study found 49% of males could be classified as Internet addicts. In addition, tests revealed need for greater reward and novelty.

Psychiatry Res. 2010 Jan 30;175(1-2):121-5. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.10.004. Epub 2009 Dec 4.


Department of Psychiatry, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 100 Tzyou 1st Rd. Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.


This study aimed to identify risk factors involved in Internet addiction. A total of 216 college students (132 males and 84 females) were given the following: (a) the diagnostic interview for Internet addiction, (b) the Iowa gambling test for decision-making deficits, (c) the Balloon Analog Risk Test (BART) to assess risk-taking tendencies, and (d) the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) for personality characteristics.

The results revealed the following:

(a) 49% of males and 17% of females were addicted,

(b) the addicted students tended to select more advantageous cards in the last 40 cards of the Iowa test, indicating better decision making,

(c) no difference was found for the BART, indicating that addicted subjects were not more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors and

(d) TPQ scores showed lower reward dependence (RD) and higher novelty seeking (NS) for the addicts.

Their higher performance on the Iowa gambling test differentiates the Internet addiction group from the substance use and pathologic gambling groups that have been shown to be deficient in decision making on the Iowa test. Thus, students that fit these characteristics should be closely monitored to prevent Internet addiction.