Implicit and explicit self-esteem in the context of internet addiction

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

56 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research has repeatedly found that people suffering from some clinical disorders (e.g., bulimia nervosa, depression) possess low explicit (i.e., conscious, deliberate) self-esteem while at the same time displaying high implicit (i.e., unconscious, automatic) self-esteem. This phenomenon has been termed damaged self-esteem and was proposed to be an indicator of psychological distress. Although Internet addiction has been found to be associated with low levels of explicit self-esteem, as well as with high levels of psychological distress, its relation to implicit self-esteem has, to our knowledge, not been investigated thus far. We therefore hypothesized that the phenomenon of damaged self-esteem could also be found amongst people suffering from Internet addiction, and conducted two studies using the Initial Preference Task as a measure of implicit self-esteem. As expected, we found that individuals scoring high on Internet addiction possess low explicit and high implicit self-esteem. This effect was, however, only found for the first name initial of the Initial Preference Task, leading to the conclusion that first and last name initials might tap into different parts of implicit self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-688
Number of pages8
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior, Addictive/psychology
  • Depression/psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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