Reducing compulsive Internet use and anxiety symptoms via two brief interventions: a comparison between mindfulness and gradual muscle relaxation

Quinones, C. and Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, 2019. Reducing compulsive Internet use and anxiety symptoms via two brief interventions: a comparison between mindfulness and gradual muscle relaxation. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 8 (3), pp. 530-536. ISSN 2062-5871

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Abstract

Background: Compulsive Internet use (CIU) refers to those individuals who experience a loss of control regarding their online use. Although suffered by a minority, a much larger proportion of adults report to be experiencing early signs of CIU, which can become more problematic if sustained over time, especially when used as a coping mechanism for stress. Since compulsive behaviors are characterized by executing behaviors on “automatic pilot,” mindfulness techniques, which help individuals relate more consciously with their environment, could help develop a more adaptive relationship with technology. However, mindfulness interventions are often lengthy hence not ideal for busy individuals with early signs of CIU.

Aims: This study tested the effectiveness of a brief mindfulness intervention (10 min a day for 2 weeks) to reduce CIU and anxiety and depression symptoms, in relation to an equivalent length classic arousal descending technique (i.e., gradual-muscle-relaxation), and a wait-list control group.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial (RCT) was used with assessments at pre- and post-phases. Participants showing initial signs of CIU were allocated to a mindfulness-group (n = 343), gradual-relaxation (n = 301), or a wait-list control group (n = 350).

Results: The mindfulness and gradual-muscle-relaxation participants were equally effective in reducing anxiety and depression. The mindfulness intervention was more effective reducing CIU symptoms.

Discussion: Given the large sample sizes of this RCT, these results are promising, although follow-up studies are needed. Considering health hazards of the “always-on-culture” and the popularity of bite-sized learning, the effectiveness of easy-to fit-in daily life health practices is a positive development.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Creators: Quinones, C. and Griffiths, M.D.
Publisher: Akadémiai Kiadó
Date: September 2019
Volume: 8
Number: 3
ISSN: 2062-5871
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1556/2006.8.2019.45DOI
1117895Other
Rights: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 11 Sep 2019 14:21
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2020 14:15
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/37636

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