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Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. 2018 Nov;68(11):451-461. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-120448. Epub 2017 Nov 23.

[Internet Addiction, Suicidality and Non-Suicidal Self-Harming Behavior - A Systematic Review].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

Author information

Klinik für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie, LWL-Universitätsklinikum der Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Fakultät für Psychologie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum.


in English, German


Internet addiction (IA) is associated with a high rate of co-morbid mental disorders, especially depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD and personality disorders and a considerable level of psychological strain. In terms of risk assessment, the present work investigates the current research literature on suicidal behavior and non-suicidal self-injurious behavior (NSSI).


We performed a systematic literature search in 14 databases on title and abstract level for the most common keywords for IA, NSSI and suicidality. After deduction of multiple items, 2334 articles remained. They were filtered per inclusion and exclusion criteria. We identified studies that examined the relationship between IA, NSSI and suicidality, which were assessed by validated psychometric instruments. This allowed a total of 15 studies to be included.


The relationship between IA and suicidality was examined in 10 studies, four studies examined the relationship of IA, suicidality, and NSSI, and one study exclusively focused on IA and NSSHB. All studies showed higher prevalence for NSSI and respectively suicidality of the subjects with an IA compared to subjects without IA, with point prevalence varying considerably between 1.6-18.7%.


The results of the included publications suggest that Internet dependency is associated with an increased rate of non-suicidal self-harming behavior and increased suicidality, with suicidal ideation being more closely related to IA than suicidal actions. In order to develop a better understanding of causal relationships between IA, NSSI and suicidality, further longitudinal studies are required.


 Against the background of the presented studies NSSHB and suicidality need to be explicitly addressed within the assessment and treatment of IA patients.


Conflict of interest statement

Die Autoren geben an, dass kein Interessenkonflikt besteht.

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