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BioMed Research International
Volume 2018, Article ID 1629147, 10 pages
Research Article

Pathological Internet Use—An Important Comorbidity in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Prevalence and Correlation Patterns in a Naturalistic Sample of Adolescent Inpatients

1Universitätsklinik für Kinder und Jugendpsychiatrie, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
2Universitätsklinik für Medizinische Psychologie, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

Correspondence should be addressed to Martin Fuchs; ta.nekinilk-lorit@shcuf.nitram

Received 13 December 2017; Accepted 20 February 2018; Published 29 March 2018

Academic Editor: Luca Cerniglia

Copyright © 2018 Martin Fuchs et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Few studies have examined the prevalence of problematic internet use (PIU) in young people undergoing inpatient treatment in child and adolescent psychiatry centers. The aims of our study were thus (a) to assess the frequency of comorbid PIU in a sample of adolescent psychiatric inpatients and compare it with a control group of nonreferred adolescents and (b) to gain insights into correlations between PIU and psychiatric comorbidities. Methods. 111 child and adolescent psychiatry inpatients (CAP-IP, mean age years; female : male 72.4% : 27.6%) undergoing routine psychodiagnostics were screened for the presence of PIU. The widely used Compulsive Internet Use Scale (CIUS) was chosen for this purpose. Prevalence rates of PIU were then compared to matched nonreferred control subjects from a school sample. Additionally, comorbidities of inpatients with PIU were compared to inpatients without PIU. Results. Our inpatient sample showed a much higher prevalence of PIU than that found in previous populational samples of young people. Compared with a matched school sample, addictive internet use was 7.8 times higher and problematic internet use 3.3 times higher among our adolescent sample. PIU was significantly associated with characteristic patterns of psychopathology, that is, suicidality, difficulties in establishing stable and consolidated identity, and peer victimization. Conclusion. PIU among adolescents undergoing inpatient psychiatric treatment is much more frequent than among their peers in the general population and is associated with specific patterns of psychopathology.