City Research Online

Internet Addiction: attached to technology?

Pomfret, R. (2019). Internet Addiction: attached to technology?. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This research explored the roles of attachment, alexithymia and psychological flexibility within both Internet Addiction and individual dimensions such as Social Media, Entertainment, Gaming and Shopping. It aimed to test the hypothesis that higher levels of insecure attachment, alexithymia and experiential avoidance exist within those classified with Internet Addiction. Additionally, it aimed to explore the role of experiential avoidance as a possible mediating variable between attachment type and Internet Addiction.

A cross-sectional design was conducted in a general population sample of Internet users (n = 441). Results supported the hypotheses, with insecure attachment (medium effect size), alexithymia (small to medium effect size) and experiential avoidance (medium to large effect size) all scoring significantly higher in the Internet Addiction group over the non-addiction group. Additionally, online Entertainment/ Video Streaming and online Shopping addiction (both with small to medium effect size) were specific to significantly higher levels of anxious attachment. Gaming addiction had no significant differences in terms of attachment scores, however small to medium effect sizes were found in connection to alexithymia (difficulty identifying feelings and difficulty describing feelings). Messaging addiction was uniquely different from the other measured dimensions, in terms of not having significantly higher scores with any of the measurements. It did, however, show non significant but small effect sizes for alexithymia (externally orientated thinking) and experiential avoidance.

Finally, results partially supported the hypothesis that experiential avoidance would mediate the relationship between attachment and Internet Addiction. It was found to mediate anxious attachment but not avoidant or overall attachment. This indicates that targeting experiential avoidance in therapy may only be effective for those with anxious attachment types. Further research should both focus upon replicating these results and on specific dimensions of Internet Addiction.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
[thumbnail of Pomfret, Richard_Amended and Redected_Redacted.pdf]
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