Excessive internet use is becoming a concern, and some have proposed that it may involve addiction. We evaluated the dimensions assessed by, and psychometric properties of, a range of questionnaires purporting to assess internet addiction.
Fourteen questionnaires were identified purporting to assess internet addiction among adolescents and adults published between January 1993 and October 2011. Their reported dimensional structure, construct, discriminant and convergent validity and reliability were assessed, as well as the methods used to derive these.
Methods used to evaluate internet addiction questionnaires varied considerably. Three dimensions of addiction predominated: compulsive use (79%), negative outcomes (86%) and salience (71%). Less common were escapism (21%), withdrawal symptoms (36%) and other dimensions. Measures of validity and reliability were found to be within normally acceptable limits.
There is a broad convergence of questionnaires purporting to assess internet addiction suggesting that compulsive use, negative outcome and salience should be covered and the questionnaires show adequate psychometric properties. However, the methods used to evaluate the questionnaires vary widely and possible factors contributing to excessive use such as social motivation do not appear to be covered.