Personality Traits and Excessive Computer and Internet Usage: A Robust Relation?

Nikolaos Tsigilis


Previous studies on the association between personality traits and computer and/or internet addiction reported mixed results. Moreover, whereas some authors claim that personality traits measures have adequate level of convergent validity (Hong et al., 2008; Paunonen, 2003), recent meta-analysis seems to seriously question it (Pace & Brannick, 2010). The aim of the present study was to examine whether personality traits can reliably predict excessive computer and internet usage in a consistent way and irrespectively of the personality traits measure used. Two hundred and thirty university students voluntarily participated in the study. They provided responses to various instruments including the Big Five Inventory, the International Personality Item Pool, the Computer Addiction Test and Internet usage. Canonical correlation analysis was used to examine the similarity between the two personality traits measures. Results showed that there is 50% of unexplained variance between the two personality measures. Multiple regression analyses (linear or ordinal depending on the nature of the criterion variable) showed that the pattern and strength of predictions seems to fluctuate in relation to the personality traits instrument used. In most cases conscientiousness and agreeableness were revealed as important personality traits to understand technological addictive behaviors. Researchers should be aware of the possible fluctuations in findings when they study the effect of personality traits on computer and excessive internet use.

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