Compulsive internet use in adults: A study of prevalence and drivers within the current economic climate in the UK

Cristina Quinones-Garcia, Nada Korak-Kakabadse

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Compulsive Internet Use (CIU) refers to a maladaptive relationship with the tool, including a loss of control over the use, the use for mood change and withdrawal symptoms. Most studies have relied on student samples, thus little is known about its prevalence in adults. The first objective of this study was to examine CIU in adults that were either employed (N = 260) or unemployed within the last year (N = 256). Second, the drivers of CIU were examined, with a focus on attitudes that reflected the reality of long working hours and job insecurity that people experience in current workplaces. A high risk of CIU (63%) with no significant differences between employed and unemployed individuals was found. However, unemployed individuals were in the highest band of Internet use, a risk factor for CIU. Interestingly, unemployed 40–55 years old females experienced higher CIU than their male counterparts. Regarding drivers of CIU, the job attitudes working excessively and compulsively were the strongest predictors, beyond emotion stability. This was particularly true at high levels of social support. In view of this, organizations should proactively evaluate the risks associated with encouraging working excessively as ill-health consequences associated with CIU could outweigh the benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


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