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Published Online: 25 July 2009

Loneliness as the Cause and the Effect of Problematic Internet Use: The Relationship between Internet Use and Psychological Well-Being

Publication: CyberPsychology & Behavior
Volume 12, Issue Number 4


The current research started from the assumption that one of the major motives driving individuals' Internet use is to relieve psychosocial problems (e.g., loneliness, depression). This study showed that individuals who were lonely or did not have good social skills could develop strong compulsive Internet use behaviors resulting in negative life outcomes (e.g., harming other significant activities such as work, school, or significant relationships) instead of relieving their original problems. Such augmented negative outcomes were expected to isolate individuals from healthy social activities and lead them into more loneliness. Even though previous research suggests that social use of the Internet (e.g., social networking sites, instant messaging) could be more problematic than entertainment use (e.g., downloading files), the current study showed that the former did not show stronger associations than the latter in the key paths leading to compulsive Internet use.

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Published In

cover image CyberPsychology & Behavior
CyberPsychology & Behavior
Volume 12Issue Number 4August 2009
Pages: 451 - 455
PubMed: 19514821


Published in print: August 2009
Published online: 25 July 2009
Published ahead of print: 10 June 2009


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Junghyun Kim
Department of Communication, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.
Robert LaRose
Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Wei Peng
Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.


Address correspondence to:
Dr. Junghyun Kim
Kent State University
135 Taylor Hall
Kent, OH 44242-0001
E-mail: [email protected]

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