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You are here: Home Publications CENs Bibliography Is it meaningful to distinguish between generalized and specific Internet addiction? Evidence from a cross-cultural study from Germany, Sweden, Taiwan and China

Christian Montag, Katharina Bey, Peng Sha, Mei Li, Ya-Fei Chen, Wei-Yin Liu, Yi-Kang Zhu, Chun-Bo Li, Sebastian Markett, Julia Keiper, and Martin Reuter (2015)

Is it meaningful to distinguish between generalized and specific Internet addiction? Evidence from a cross-cultural study from Germany, Sweden, Taiwan and China

Asia-Pacific Psychiatry, 7(1):20--26.

It has been hypothesized that two distinctive forms of Inter- net addiction exist. Here, generalized Internet addiction refers to the problematic use of the Internet covering a broad range of Internet-related activities. In contrast, specific forms of Internet addiction target the prob- lematic use of distinct online activities such as excessive online video gaming or activities in social networks. Methods: The present study investigates the relationship between generalized and specific Internet addiction in a cross-cultural study encompassing data from China, Taiwan, Sweden and Germany in n = 636 participants. In this study, we assessed – besides generalized Internet addiction – addictive behavior in the domains of online video gaming, online shopping, online social networks and online pornography. Results: The results confirm the existence of distinct forms of specific Internet addiction. One exception, however, was established in five of the six samples under investigation: online social network addiction correlates in large amounts with generalized Internet addiction. Discussion: In general, it is of importance to distinguish between gener- alized and specific Internet addiction. Introduction

addiction, china, generalized and specific internet, germany, sweden, taiwan
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