Internet Addiction Test (IAT): which is the best factorial solution?

Research paper by Palmira P Faraci, Giuseppe G Craparo, Roberta R Messina, Sergio S Severino

Indexed on: 05 Nov '13Published on: 05 Nov '13Published in: Journal of medical Internet research


The Internet Addiction Test (IAT) by Kimberly Young is one of the most utilized diagnostic instruments for Internet addiction. Although many studies have documented psychometric properties of the IAT, consensus on the optimal overall structure of the instrument has yet to emerge since previous analyses yielded markedly different factor analytic results.The objective of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Italian version of the IAT, specifically testing the factor structure stability across cultures.In order to determine the dimensional structure underlying the questionnaire, both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were performed. The reliability of the questionnaire was computed by the Cronbach alpha coefficient.Data analyses were conducted on a sample of 485 college students (32.3%, 157/485 males and 67.7%, 328/485 females) with a mean age of 24.05 years (SD 7.3, range 17-47). Results showed 176/485 (36.3%) participants with IAT score from 40 to 69, revealing excessive Internet use, and 11/485 (1.9%) participants with IAT score from 70 to 100, suggesting significant problems because of Internet use. The IAT Italian version showed good psychometric properties, in terms of internal consistency and factorial validity. Alpha values were satisfactory for both the one-factor solution (Cronbach alpha=.91), and the two-factor solution (Cronbach alpha=.88 and Cronbach alpha=.79). The one-factor solution comprised 20 items, explaining 36.18% of the variance. The two-factor solution, accounting for 42.15% of the variance, showed 11 items loading on Factor 1 (Emotional and Cognitive Preoccupation with the Internet) and 7 items on Factor 2 (Loss of Control and Interference with Daily Life). Goodness-of-fit indexes (NNFI: Non-Normed Fit Index; CFI: Comparative Fit Index; RMSEA: Root Mean Square Error of Approximation; SRMR: Standardized Root Mean Square Residual) from confirmatory factor analyses conducted on a random half subsample of participants (n=243) were satisfactory in both factorial solutions: two-factor model (χ²₁₃₂= 354.17, P<.001, χ²/df=2.68, NNFI=.99, CFI=.99, RMSEA=.02 [90% CI 0.000-0.038], and SRMR=.07), and one-factor model (χ²₁₆₉=483.79, P<.001, χ²/df=2.86, NNFI=.98, CFI=.99, RMSEA=.02 [90% CI 0.000-0.039], and SRMR=.07).Our study was aimed at determining the most parsimonious and veridical representation of the structure of Internet addiction as measured by the IAT. Based on our findings, support was provided for both single and two-factor models, with slightly strong support for the bidimensionality of the instrument. Given the inconsistency of the factor analytic literature of the IAT, researchers should exercise caution when using the instrument, dividing the scale into factors or subscales. Additional research examining the cross-cultural stability of factor solutions is still needed.