present study investigates the relationship between Problematic Internet Use
and Alexithymia among the non clinical sample of adolescents. The study was
conducted on 90 high school students. Internet Addiction Test (IAT) by Young
(1998) for Problematic Internet Use, Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20) by
Bagby, Parker, and Taylor (1994) were administered. Adolescents scoring >50
on IAT were considered as Problematic Internet Users (PIU) and those scoring
<50 were taken as control group. Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and t-test was used for analysis. The results revealed significant and positive relationship of Internet Addiction with Alexithymia (Difficulty Describing Feelings, Difficulty Identifying Feelings and Externally Oriented Thinking and Total Alexithymia). The results further indicated significant differences for Alexithymia between PIU group and control group. Key words: Problematic Internet Use, Alexithymia, Adolescents, Internet Addiction INTRODUCTION Internet has become a part of our daily lives. For youngsters, its use is not only limited to find information or gain knowledge but it is a source of communication and maintenance of relationships. Although internet has various advantages and provides great facilities but when it is used excessively without any purpose, it leads to negative effects. The negative effects of internet use have been reported by psychologists and educators which is growing on a daily basis (Odac? & Kalkan, 2010).It has been reported that excessive and incorrect internet use leads to psychological and physical problems (Park et al., 2013).These negative effects affect other domains of life also, such as the academic, financial and occupational spheres, and social relations (Odaci, 2013). Kimberley Young (1998) has defined the pathological use of Internet as Problematic Internet Use. The diagnosis of PIU is indicated by five or more of the following symptoms: preoccupation with the Internet; increased amount of time needed on the Internet to achieve satisfaction; repeated unsuccessful attempts to control, cut back, or stop Internet use; feeling restless, moody, depressed, or irritable when attempting to cut down/control use; staying online for longer than originally intended; risk of losing a significant relationship, job, education, or career opportunity because of the Internet; lying to conceal the extent of involvement with the Internet; and using the Internet as a means of escaping problems or relieving dysphoric mood. Thus, in this paper, internet addicted adolescents will be referred as Problematic Internet Users (PIU) group. Alexithymia is the term coined by Nemiah and Sifneos (1970).It is a psychological construct closely connected to affect dysregulation and difficulties using feelings as a guide for one's own behavior (Taylor, Bagby, & Parker, 1997). It refers to a difficulty identifying feelings and distinguishing them from bodily sensations, a difficulty describing feelings to others, a pragmatic, externally oriented, cognitive style, and restricted imagination marked by paucity of fantasies, dreams, and daydreaming (Taylor & Bagby, 2013). Alexithymia is a personality trait normally distributed in the community (Parker, Keefer, Taylor, & Bagby, 2008). The role of genes have been found in the etiology of alexithymia (Jorgensen, Zachariae, Skytthe, & Kyvik, 2007) as well as poor childhood attachment and adverse childhood experiences including poor maternal care, abuse and family pathology (Thorberg, Young, Sullivan, & Lyvers, 2011). Review of literature Berardis et al .(2009) evaluated Alexithymia, Dissociative experiences, and Internet Addiction (IA) in a nonclinical sample of 312 undergraduate students, identifying predictive factors associated with the possible risk of developing IA. The results showed that alexithymics had more consistent dissociative experiences, lower self-esteem, and higher obsessive-compulsive symptoms than non-alexithymics. In addition, alexithymics reported a higher potential risk for IA when compared to non-alexithymics.It was further reported that higher dissociative experiences ,difficulty in identifying feelings, higher impulse dysregulation, and lower self-esteem, were also associated with higher IA. Scimeca et al.(2014) assessed whether Internet addiction (IA) severity was related to alexithymia scores among high school students, taking into account the role of gender differences and the possible effect of anxiety, depression, and age. Participants in the study were 600 students (ages ranging from 13 to 22) recruited from three high schools in two cities from Southern Italy. The findings of the study showed that IA scores were associated with alexithymia scores, over and above the effect of negative emotions and age. Students with pathological levels of alexithymia reported higher scores on IA severity. In particular, results showed that difficulty in identifying feelings was significantly associated with higher scores on IA severity. Baysan-Arslan,Cebeci,Kaya,and Canbal (2016) examined the relationship between Internet Addiction and Alexithymia in Ankara, Turkey.The sample for the study was University students (1,107 students; 452 students from 12 associate degree programs and 655 students from 10 undergraduate programs) . The results revealed that the number of the alexithymic students was 12.5% whereas the number of the students who were internet addicts was 13.5%. The results also showed that internet addiction scores were higher among Alexithymic individuals than the non-Alexithymic individuals. There is a need to study the association in detail between Alexithymia and IA severity in high school students. Most studies have been conducted on prevalence of Alexithymia among Internet addicts. Dearth of literature is found on the sub types of Alexithymia viz. Difficulty Describing Feelings, Difficulty Identifying Feelings and Externally Oriented Thinking and its relationship with Internet addiction. Alexithymic adolescents—likewise adults—tend to have difficulties in developing healthy, intimate, and close relationships since Alexithymia may interfere with managing emotional states, and it may be related to intense negative emotions, such as anxiety, depression, and anger; separation anxiety; and avoidant tendencies (Oskis et al.,2013).