The Relationship Between Depression and Internet Addiction
by Kimberly S. Young and Robert C. Rodgers
Paper published in CyberPsychology & Behavior, 1(1), 25-28, 1998
Prior research has utilized the Zung Depression Inventory (ZDI) and found that moderate to
severe rates of depression coexist with pathological Internet use.1 Although the ZDI was utilized
for its expediency with on-line administration, its limitations include poor normative data and
less frequent clinical use. Therefore, this study utilized the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI),
which has more accurate norms and frequent usage among dual diagnostic patient populations.
An on-line survey administered on a World Wide Web site utilized the BDI as part of a larger
study. A total of 312 surveys was collected with 259 valid profiles from addicted users, which
again supported significant levels of depression to be associated with pathological Internet use.
This article discusses how a treatment protocol should emphasis the primary psychiatric
condition if related to a subsequent impulse control problem such as pathological Internet use.
Effective management of psychiatric symptoms may indirectly correct pathological Internet use.
Prior research has identified the existence of addictive Internet use, which has been associated
with significant social, psychological, and occupational impairment.2 Addicts in this study used
the Internet an average of 38 hr per week for nonacademic or non-employment purposes, which
caused detrimental effects such as poor grade performance among students, discord among
couples, and reduced work performance among employees. This is compared to non-addicts who
used the Internet an average of 8 hr per week with no significant consequences reported.
Predominantly, the interactive capabilities of the Internet such as chat rooms or on-line games
were seen to be the most addictive. This type of behavioral impulse control failure, which does
not involve an intoxicant, was seen as most akin to pathological