The prevalence rate of internet addiction among Japanese college students: two cross-sectional studies and reconsideration of cut-off points of Young’s internet addiction test in Japan (2018)

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2018 May 30. doi: 10.1111/pcn.12686.

Tateno M1,2, Teo AR3,4, Shiraishi M2, Tayama M2,5, Kawanishi C2, Kato TA6.



Due to variation in estimates of the prevalence of internet addiction (IA) in prior research, we conducted two cross-sectional studies over two years and investigated the prevalence rate of IA in college students in Japan, and reconsidered appropriate cut-off points of self-rating scale to screen possible IA.


This study is composed of two parts: survey I in 2014 and survey II in 2016, which were conducted in the same schools with an interval of two years. The study questionnaire included questions about demographics and internet use, and the Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT). Additionally, the subjects in survey II were asked about self-reported IA.


There were 1,005 respondents in total with a mean age of 18.9±1.3. The mean IAT scores remained stable between 2014 and 2016: 45.2±12.6 in survey I and 45.5±13.1 in survey II (overall mean IAT score of 45.4±13.0). With respect to self-reported IA in survey II, a total of 21.6% agreed (score of 5 or 6 on a 6-point Likert scale). We categorized these subjects as IA, and the remainder as non-IA. The mean IAT score showed significant difference between these two groups (57.8±14.3 vs 42.1±10.7, p<0.001).


The severity of symptoms of IA among Japanese college students appears stable in recent years, with a mean IAT scores of over 40. Our results suggest that a screening score cut-off of 40 on the IAT could be reconsidered and that of 50 might be proposed for the cut-off. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


Internet addiction; Internet gaming disorder; Internet use disorder; behavioral addiction; pathological Internet use

PMID: 29845676

DOI: 10.1111/pcn.12686