The Role of Internet User Characteristics and Motives in Explaining Three Dimensions of Internet Addiction

Publication Title

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Publication Date


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Internet addiction, user characteristics, motives, uses and gratification




This study investigated how Internet user characteristics and motives predicted Internet addiction.In this study, we drew on prior addiction research in an effort to synthesize prior thinking on the current subject, and attempt to conceptualize Internet addiction in a manner that was consistent with conceptualizations of addiction in other contexts, such as addiction to substances or alcohol. The results of this study suggested that Internet addiction was manifested in different ways. Here we identified three dimensions of Interent addiction according to the intensitiy or progress of addiction; intrusion, escaping reality, and attachment. Amount of Internet use was an important predictor of two of the three manifestations of addiction identified here: intrusion and escaping reality. Three different dimensions of Interent addiction were predicted by different sets of user background characteristics and motives for using the internet. The results supported tenets of uses and gratification theory (U&G). U&G suggests that media effects are the result of media consumers’ individual differences (e.g., social and psychological circumstances), motives for using media, and media use (e.g., selectivity and exposure) working together. If, as the results suggest, some forms of addiction are more intense and more detrimental than others, then future research should be directed toward identifying with greater specificity exactly what background characteristics for using the Internet explain and help us understand better how addiction is manifested and which users are more susceptible to these different manifestations of addiction.