Elevated social Internet use and schizotypal personality disorder in adolescents

Vijay A. Mittal*, Kevin D. Tessner, Elaine F. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Introduction: In the past decade, the use of the Internet as a forum for communication has exponentially increased, and research indicates that excessive use is associated with psychiatric symptoms. The present study examined the rate of Internet use in adolescents with personality disorders, with a focus on schizotypal personality disorder (SPD), which is characterized by marked interpersonal deficits. Because the Internet provides an easily accessible forum for anonymous social interaction and constitutes an environment where communication is less likely to be hampered by interpersonal deficits, it was hypothesized that SPD youth will spend significantly more time engaging in social activities on the Internet than controls. Methods: Self-reports of daily Internet use in adolescents with SPD (n = 19), a control group with other personality disorders (n = 22) and a non-psychiatric control group (n = 28) were collected. Results: Analyses revealed that the SPD participants reported significantly less social interaction with 'real-life' friends, but used the Internet for social interaction significantly more frequently than controls. Chat room participation, cooperative Internet gaming, and to a lesser degree, e-mail use, were positively correlated with ratings of SPD symptom severity and Beck Depression Inventory scores. Discussion: Findings are discussed in light of the potential benefits and risks associated with Internet use by socially isolated SPD youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-57
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Adolescent
  • Internet
  • Schizotypal
  • Social deficit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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