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Problematic Internet Use: A Biopsychosocial Model – Version II

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Communication and Informatics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 24386

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Psychology, International Telematic University Uninettuno, 00186 Rome, Italy
Interests: developmental psychopathology; trauma; epigenetics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Via degli Apuli, 1, 00185 Rome, Italy
Interests: developmental psychopathology; intersubjectivity; epigenetics; parental psychopathology; problematic internet use; internalizing/externalizing symptoms
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the last decade, there has been an enormous development of new forms of Internet use and communication technology, such as social media, personal computers, mobile phones, and other devices.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, these technologies proved useful to keep individuals in contact, even if quarantined or isolated, promoting resilience against possible negative behavioral and psychological outcomes. In these challenging times, the Internet has also allowed distance learning.

Although these important potentialities are recognized, frequent and prolonged use of the web has been associated in previous studies with distress, anxiety, addiction, and psychopathological symptoms, especially among children and adolescents. International literature has posited that these clinical manifestations are predicted, mediated, and/or moderated by familial, genetic, and relational factors, even if very few studies have so far investigated these issues encompassing the potentially negative contribution of the pandemic.

This Special Issue will be dedicated to scientific research on the above issues, with particular attention to studies that use a biopsychosocial point of view. In particular, the presentation of interdisciplinary work and multicountry collaborative research is encouraged. In particular, studies are encouraged which consider the epigenetic characteristics of the subjects.

This Special Issue will welcome original research articles using different study projects (both longitudinal studies and cross-sectional studies), or systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Prof. Dr. Luca Cerniglia
Prof. Dr. Silvia Cimino
Dr. Giulia Ballarotto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Problematic internet use
  • Behavioral addiction
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Biopsychosocial model
  • Epigenetic

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 253 KiB  
Editorial
Some Considerations about Pornography Watching in Early Adolescence
by Luca Cerniglia and Silvia Cimino
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10818; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710818 - 30 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1224
Abstract
Adolescence is a time of significant transition because of the rapid acceleration of bodily changes [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problematic Internet Use: A Biopsychosocial Model – Version II)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

14 pages, 391 KiB  
Article
Motivations, Behaviors and Expectancies of Sexting: The Role of Defensive Strategies and Social Media Addiction in a Sample of Adolescents
by Alessandra Ragona, Martina Mesce, Silvia Cimino and Luca Cerniglia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 1805; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031805 - 18 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2304
Abstract
Adolescents and young adults engage in sexting behaviors. Research has mainly emphasized the relationship between motivations and sexting behaviors, with little attention paid to sexting expectations and the potential role of coping strategies. This study aims to explore the measure of emotional–behavioral functioning [...] Read more.
Adolescents and young adults engage in sexting behaviors. Research has mainly emphasized the relationship between motivations and sexting behaviors, with little attention paid to sexting expectations and the potential role of coping strategies. This study aims to explore the measure of emotional–behavioral functioning with the Youth/Adult Self Report (based on the subject’s age), the use of defensive strategies measured with the Response Evaluation Measure (REM-71), social media addiction with the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS) and all dimensions of sexting: motivations, behavior and expectations measured with the Sexting Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ), Sexting Behavior Questionnaire (SBQ) and Sexpectancies Questionnaire (SQ), respectively. N = 209 adolescents and young adults were recruited from high schools and universities in Rome to complete the self-report questionnaires. Results show that males tend to have higher expectations of sexting than females. We also found that expectations play a role in determining sexting behaviors and motivations. Our hypotheses on social media addiction and sexting were confirmed, while the relationship between the defensive strategies and sexting was not significant as expected. Further studies on this topic are desirable in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problematic Internet Use: A Biopsychosocial Model – Version II)
25 pages, 422 KiB  
Article
Males’ Lived Experience with Self-Perceived Pornography Addiction: A Qualitative Study of Problematic Porn Use
by Sophia Hanseder and Jaya A. R. Dantas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(2), 1497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20021497 - 13 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 8621
Abstract
The positive impact of pornography use has been demonstrated; however, most research points towards problematic, compulsive, or excessive engagement with pornography and associated adverse effects on well-being. However, results remain inconclusive and qualitative research capturing perspectives of affected people is scarce. This phenomenological [...] Read more.
The positive impact of pornography use has been demonstrated; however, most research points towards problematic, compulsive, or excessive engagement with pornography and associated adverse effects on well-being. However, results remain inconclusive and qualitative research capturing perspectives of affected people is scarce. This phenomenological study aimed to explore the perspective and lived experience of males with a self-reported addiction to pornography. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with 13 males aged between 21 and 66 years from Australia and the USA were conducted. A thematic analysis of the transcripts was undertaken, resulting in the identification of four themes. The interviews explored the participants’ reasoning for determining themselves as porn addicts, investigated patterns of use, examined the perceived multifaceted impacts of pornography use, illustrated applied individual strategies to overcome the addiction, and proposed interventions helping to inform future recommendations. Experiences and perceptions of pornography addiction were consistently depicted as problematic and harmful. Most participants described an inability to stop their consumption despite experiencing adverse effects. Commonly reported was a gradual increase in the use of and consumption of new or more shocking content. Consumption of content was outlined as an escape or coping mechanism for negative emotions or boredom. Participants reported a variety of applied strategies to manage their addiction and suggested recommendations. Investigation into strategies for the identification of problematic pornography use, its conceptualization, associated health outcomes, and effective preventative and interventional strategies are required to provide academic consistency, support those negatively affected by pornography, and achieve increased public awareness of the issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problematic Internet Use: A Biopsychosocial Model – Version II)
19 pages, 962 KiB  
Article
How Does Psychological Distress Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Internet Addiction and Instagram Addiction in Emerging Adults?
by Giulia Ballarotto, Eleonora Marzilli, Luca Cerniglia, Silvia Cimino and Renata Tambelli
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111382 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4942
Abstract
International research has underlined a worrying increase in Internet and Instagram addiction among emerging adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the role played by alexithymia and psychological distress due to COVID-19 has been evidenced, no study has explored their complex relationship in predicting [...] Read more.
International research has underlined a worrying increase in Internet and Instagram addiction among emerging adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the role played by alexithymia and psychological distress due to COVID-19 has been evidenced, no study has explored their complex relationship in predicting emerging adults’ Internet and Instagram addiction. The present study aimed to verify whether peritraumatic distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic mediated the relationship between emerging adults’ alexithymia and their Internet/Instagram addiction, in a sample composed of n = 400 Italian emerging adults. Results showed that females had higher peritraumatic distress due to COVID-19 than males, whereas males had higher externally oriented thinking and higher levels of Internet addiction than females. Emerging adults’ psychological distress due to COVID-19 significantly mediated the effect of alexithymia on Internet and Instagram addiction. Our findings supported the presence of a dynamic relationship between individual vulnerabilities and the co-occurrence of other psychological difficulties in predicting emerging adults’ Internet and Instagram addiction during the pandemic, with important clinical implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problematic Internet Use: A Biopsychosocial Model – Version II)
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9 pages, 330 KiB  
Article
The Capacity to Be Alone Moderates Psychopathological Symptoms and Social Networks Use in Adolescents during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Silvia Cimino and Luca Cerniglia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11033; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111033 - 20 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1970
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescents could not leave their house freely, meet up with friends, or attend school; previous literature showed that youths under enforced confinement or quarantine were five times more likely to suffer from psychopathological symptoms and use social networks sites [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescents could not leave their house freely, meet up with friends, or attend school; previous literature showed that youths under enforced confinement or quarantine were five times more likely to suffer from psychopathological symptoms and use social networks sites (SNs) greatly. This study aimed to verify whether the quality of the parent-adolescent relationship could predict youths’ psychopathological symptoms and their SN use during the pandemic, and to evaluate the possible moderator role of their the capacity to be alone. Seven hundred and thirty-nine (n = 739) adolescents were recruited from the general population during the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy, and they were administered The Capacity to be Alone Scale, The BSMAS, the YSR, and the Perceived Filial Self-efficacy Scale. Our results confirmed a direct effect of the perceived filial self-efficacy on the psychopathological symptoms so that a poorer perceived quality of the relationship with the caregivers predicted higher psychopathological symptoms in youths. Moreover, greater social networks use was predictive of psychopathological symptoms in adolescents. Our results also showed a significant interaction effect between adolescents’ perceived filial efficacy and the capacity to be alone on SN use and on psychopathological symptoms. These results suggest that youths’ response to the confinement during the pandemic is influenced both by individual characteristics (the capacity to be alone) and by relational variables (the perceived filial self-efficacy). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problematic Internet Use: A Biopsychosocial Model – Version II)
14 pages, 435 KiB  
Article
Modulation of Instagram Number of Followings by Avoidance in Close Relationships in Young Adults under a Gene x Environment Perspective
by Andrea Bonassi, Alessandro Carollo, Ilaria Cataldo, Giulio Gabrieli, Moses Tandiono, Jia Nee Foo, Bruno Lepri and Gianluca Esposito
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7547; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147547 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4147
Abstract
Social networking sites have determined radical changes in human life, demanding investigations on online socialization mechanisms. The knowledge acquired on in-person sociability could guide researchers to consider both environmental and genetic features as candidates of online socialization. Here, we explored the impact of [...] Read more.
Social networking sites have determined radical changes in human life, demanding investigations on online socialization mechanisms. The knowledge acquired on in-person sociability could guide researchers to consider both environmental and genetic features as candidates of online socialization. Here, we explored the impact of the quality of adult attachment and the genetic properties of the Serotonin Transporter Gene (5-HTTLPR) on Instagram social behavior. Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised questionnaire was adopted to assess 57 Instagram users’ attachment pattern in close relationships with partners. Genotypes from the 5-HTTLPR/rs25531 region were extracted from the users’ buccal mucosa and analyzed. Users’ Instagram social behavior was examined from four indexes: number of posts, number of followed users (“followings”) and number of followers, and the Social Desirability Index calculated from the followers to followings ratio. Although no interaction between rs25531 and ECR-R dimensions was found, an association between avoidance in close relationships and Instagram number of followings emerged. Post hoc analyses revealed adult avoidance from the partner predicts the Instagram number of followings with good evidence. Moreover, users reporting high avoidance levels displayed fewer followings than users who reported low levels of avoidance. This research provides a window into the psychobiological understanding of online socialization on Instagram. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problematic Internet Use: A Biopsychosocial Model – Version II)
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