A review of research on problematic internet use and well-being : with recommendations for the U.S. Air Force

This report reviews the scientific literature on the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of problematic Internet use (PIU) with the goal of informing Air Force policies aimed at mitigating PIU's negative impact on operations and the mental health of Airmen. The report is motivated by a rece...

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Main Authors: Breslau, Joshua, Aharoni, Eyal (Author), Pedersen, Eric R. (Author), Miller, Laura L. (Author)
Corporate Author: Project Air Force (U.S.)
Format: eBook
Language:English
Published: Santa Monica, Calif. RAND Corporation [2015]©2015, 2015
Series:Research report
Subjects:
Online Access:
Collection: JSTOR Open Access Books - Collection details see MPG.ReNa
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520 |a This report reviews the scientific literature on the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of problematic Internet use (PIU) with the goal of informing Air Force policies aimed at mitigating PIU's negative impact on operations and the mental health of Airmen. The report is motivated by a recent RAND study estimating that 6 percent of Airmen have PIU. Individuals with PIU, similar to people with substance addictions, suffer from excessive and compulsive online activities, symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal, and functional impairment. PIU is also strongly associated with other mental health problems including major depression. However, at present there is no single accepted definition of PIU, and no up-to-date estimates of the prevalence of PIU in the general U.S. population are available. A range of prevention and treatment approaches have been developed, but none has been rigorously tested in clinical trials. Prevention programs rely on workplace Internet policies and strategies to help individuals self-regulate their Internet use. Treatment approaches that have proven feasible and acceptable to patients with PIU include adaptations of cognitive-behavioral therapy, an evidence-based treatment for depression and anxiety, to the specific symptoms of PIU. Based on our findings, we recommend: (1) increasing awareness of PIU among organizational leadership and mental health professionals, (2) incorporating content related to PIU into existing trainings related to mental health, (3) providing support for self-regulation of Internet use on the job by incorporating PIU management principles into Internet use policies, and (4) continuing monitoring of the emerging scientific literature on PIU.