Index of problematic online experiences: Item characteristics and correlation with negative symptomatology

Kimberly J. Mitchell, Chiara Sabina, David Finkelhor, Melissa Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This exploratory study aimed to develop and test a quick, easily administered instrument, the Index of Problematic Online Experiences (I-POE). The goal of the I-POE extends beyond assessing for Internet overuse to broadly assess problematic Internet use across several domains and activities. Data was collected from 563 college students from a Northern New England university using an online survey methodology. Results indicated the I-POE has adequate construct validity and is highly correlated with a variety of relevant constructs: depression, anger/irritability, tension-reduction behavior, sexual concerns, and dysfunctional sexual behavior as measured by the Trauma Symptom Inventory; as well as amount of Internet use and permissive attitudes toward engaging in a variety of sexual activities. Early flagging of online experiences could mitigate the negative effects associated with problematic use. The I-POE, as an easy-to-administer, short screening index, holds promise in this regard. Initial testing of the instrument points to its utility in identifying persons who are experiencing a broad range of Internet-related problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-711
Number of pages5
JournalCyberpsychology and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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