Exploring Individual Differences in Online Addictions:
the Role of Identity and Attachment

Lucia Monacis 1 & Valeria de Palo1 & Mark D. Griffiths 2 &
Maria Sinatra3
Published online: 3 May 2017
# The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication
Abstract Research examining the development of online addictions has grown greatly over
the last decade with many studies suggesting both risk factors and protective factors. In an
attempt to integrate the theories of attachment and identity formation, the present study
investigated the extent to which identity styles and attachment orientations account for three
types of online addiction (i.e., internet addiction, online gaming addiction, and social media
addiction). The sample comprised 712 Italian students (381 males and 331 females) recruited
from schools and universities who completed an offline self-report questionnaire. The findings
showed that addictions to the internet, online gaming, and social media were interrelated and
were predicted by common underlying risk and protective factors. Among identity styles,
‘informational’ and ‘diffuse-avoidant’styles were risk factors, whereas ‘normative’style was a
protective factor. Among attachment dimensions, the ‘secure’ attachment orientation negatively
predicted the three online addictions, and a different pattern of causal relationships were
observed between the styles underlying ‘anxious’ and ‘avoidant’ attachment orientations.
Hierarchical multiple regressions demonstrated that identity styles explained between 21.2 and 30% of the variance in online addictions, whereas attachment styles incrementally
explained between 9.2 and 14% of the variance in the scores on the three addiction scales.
These findings highlight the important role played by identity formation in the development of
online addictions.

Acceso al full text: 10.1007s11469-017-9768-5

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