Treatment outcomes of a CBT-based group intervention for adolescents with internet use disorders

  • Background and aims: Instances of Internet use disorders (IUD) including Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and non-gaming pathological Internet use (ng-PIU) have the extent that they are now a growing mental health issue. Individuals suffering from IUD show a large range of symptoms, high comorbidities and impairments in different areas of life. To date there is a lack of efficient and evidence-based treatment programs for such adolescents. The present registered single-arm trial ( NCT03582839) aimed to investigate the long-term effects of a brief manualized cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program for adolescents with IUD. Methods: N = 54 patients (16.7% female), aged 9–19 years (M = 13.48, SD = 1.72) received the CBT group program PROTECT+. IUD symptom severity (primary outcome variable) as well as comorbid symptoms, risk-related variables and potentially protective skills (secondary outcome variables) were assessed at pretest, posttest, as well as 4 and 12 months after admission. Results: Patients showed a significant reduction in IUD symptom severity at the 12-month follow-up. Effect sizes were medium to large depending on the measure. Beyond the statistical significance, the clinical significance was confirmed using the reliable change index. Secondary outcome variables showed a significant reduction in self-reported depression, social anxiety, performance anxiety and school anxiety as well as in parental-reported general psychopathology. Discussion and conclusions: The present study shows long-term effects of a manual-based CBT treatment for adolescents suffering from IUD. The results indicate that even a 4-session brief intervention can achieve a medium to large effect over 12 months. Future work is needed to confirm the efficacy within a randomized controlled trial (RCT).
Author:Carolin Szász-Janocha, Eva Vonderlin, Katajun LindenbergORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Journal of behavioral addictions
Publisher:Akadémiai Kiadó
Place of publication:Budapest
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/11/16
Date of first Publication:2021/01/15
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/08/03
Tag:Internet gaming disorder; Internet use disorders; adolescents; cognitive behavioral therapy; early intervention; treatment
Page Number:12
First Page:978
Last Page:989
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell 4.0