Internet addiction and executive functions in university students: a systematic review.
Abstract: Internet addiction is a growing public health problem and university students have number of characteristics which make them a population at risk. Numerous studies suggest a relation between addiction and the impairment of executive functions. This bibliographical review aims to identify neuropsychological variables which indicate a risk of developing an addiction to different internet applications among university students. A systematic search was made of online databases (Medline, PsycInfo, PubMED, ScienceDirect, Scopus & Web of Science) for empirical studies published between 2000 and 2019 on the relation between internet addiction and executive functions in this population. After eliminating duplicates and applying eligibility criteria, a total of 30 studies were selected. The results of these studies suggest an alteration of executive functions due to addiction (inhibitory control, decision-making and verbal fluency), although the findings do not provide a clear internet addiction risk profile. More study is necessary into the nature of this relation, differentiating the different internet applications and controlling certain variables such as gender, the nature of the task and the type of stimuli, in order to design effective addiction prevention strategies.
- PSICOLOGÍA