Doctoral dissertation on problematic use of internet and associated risk behaviors

On November 20, 2020, the doctoral dissertation of Cristina Alonso Vilar was defended. The thesis was entitled “Problematic use of Internet and associated risk behaviors: Personality predictors and psychosocial consequences from a longitudinal perspective”, and achieved the maximum score by the evaluating board (Excellent cum laude). The tesis is focused on phenomena with wide relevance in social, educational and clinical terms, namely, abuse of Internet and videogames, cyberbullying and cybervictimization and the transfer of personal contents of a sexual nature (sexting) during adolescence. Specifically, the thesis analyzed how such behaviors 1) can be predicted by personality variables, and 2) can exert a significant impact on emotions and conducts registered in a one-year follow-up.

The results showed that the various Internet-related behaviors may be impulsed by differentiated personality traits. Nevertheless, the consequences of the different Internet-related behaviors are quite homogeneous, including damages to emotional well-being and an increasing involvement in tobacco and alcohol use.

The thesis allowed distillation of guidelines to enrich interventions on Internet risk behaviors considering personality traits. It also suggests that intervention on Internet risk behaviors may help in the prevention of further psychosocial difficulties through time.

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