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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2014 Oct;45(5):588-95. doi: 10.1007/s10578-013-0428-0.

Insecure attachment attitudes in the onset of problematic Internet use among late adolescents.

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Kore University of Enna, Enna, Italy,


Studies on the role played by attachment attitudes among late adolescents who show Problematic Internet Use (PIU) are still lacking. Three self-report measures concerning attachment attitudes, childhood experiences of abuse, and Internet addiction were administered to 310 students (49 % males) aged 18-19 attending the last year of high school. Students who screened positive for PIU were more likely to be male and to have suffered childhood experiences of physical and sexual abuse; they also scored higher than the other participants on scales assessing anxious and avoidant attachment attitudes. A logistic regression showed that the classification of participants in the PIU group was predicted by male gender, having suffered from physical and sexual abuse in childhood, and preoccupation with relationships. Keeping constant the effects of gender and childhood experiences of abuse in the equation model, increasing values of preoccupation with relationships were reflected by an exponential growth in the probability curve for PIU classification. Findings of the study support the hypothesis that insecure attachment attitudes (particularly the preoccupation with relationships) are involved in the development of PIU among late adolescents.

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