Problematic Internet use (PIU) behaviours involve one’s maladaptive Internet use and have been often described as secondary manifestations of pre-existing psychopathology. Furthermore, different profiles of PIU sufferers have been proposed. However, little is known of the impact these may be having on treatment responses. Thus, this study aims to investigate the psychopathological profiles of those who seek treatment for PIU within a specialised public outpatient unit and whether these influence treatment outcomes. This research utilised 203 treatment seekers of the Specialized Department of Problematic Internet Use (SD-PIU) of the Psychiatric Hospital of Attica, in Greece (mean age = 26.02; SD = 7.9). To assess psychopathology, the Symptom Checklist-90 Revised (SCL-90-R) was used. Treatment responses were reported either as completed, continued, or drop out. A Latent Class/Profiling-Analysis (LCA) was performed, guided by variations across the SCL-90-R psychopathologies. It indicated two naturally occurring profiles of comorbid psychological symptoms; 66% were classified as the “High Comorbidity” (HC) and 34% as the “Low Comorbidity” (LC) profile. Regarding treatment outcomes, LC patients presented with significantly lower dropout rates and higher levels of completion. The present study poses imperative clinical implications regarding the necessity of specialized treatment planning based on the different PIU treatment seekers psychopathological comorbidities.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.