Definition and diagnostic criteria of internet addiction

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine / WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care


Paper presented at the 34th Annual International Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, 2008. Abstract available in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (2008) 17, A1–A35. Conference proceeding available here.


Empirical studies suggest that some computer users are becoming addicted to the Internet, causing academic, social and relationship problems. Symptoms of Internet overuse appear to be occurring worldwide, including Thailand, where Internet use has increased dramatically. As well, literature is emerging surrounding the outcomes of Internet overuse. However, there is debate in the literature pertaining to what constitutes IA and the consistent diagnosis criteria and/or precise clinical definitions of IA have not yet been established. This study employs three rounds of a modified Delphi technique method to obtain a consensus definition and diagnostic criteria of IA and to identify salient therapeutic strategies for minimising the harm of IA. Thirty experts in Thai society were recruited to participate in this study. Responses to the questions on each round were summarised, analysed, and salient themes identified. The consensus definition and diagnostic criteria of IA derived from the Delphi methods will be used to classify a sample of students reported Internet use as addicted or normal in a survey of 1,200 secondary school students in Chiang Mai, Thailand as a subsequent part of this research. The completed project should result in a more precise, consensus definition and diagnostic criteria of IA that will assist clinicians and educators identify Internet overuse. Additionally the identification of potential strategies is proposed for minimising the harm which might be caused by IA among secondary students in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and subsequently to a broader audience.





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