London: Women are more likely to be Facebook addicts and they have their genes to blame for it, a new study has claimed.
The study by researchers at the University of Bonn has shown new evidence of a genetic variant linked to Internet addiction, and the link occurred most frequently in women, the Daily Mail reported.
Lead author of the research Dr Christian Montag said it showed that Internet addiction is 'not a figment of our imagination'.
The researchers interviewed 843 people about their Internet habits, eventually whittling the group down to 132 online addicts.
The addicts were then compared to a 'healthy' control group, and it emerged that the 132 subjects displaying problematic Internet behavior were more likely to be carriers of the genetic variation.
Those affected were most likely to be female.
"The sex-specific genetic finding may result from a specific subgroup of Internet dependency, such as the use of social networks or such," Montag was quoted as saying by the paper.
Montag suggested that the popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter among women could be behind the trend, but added that further studies would be needed.
"It was shown that Internet addiction is not a figment of our imagination," Montag, who is based at the Department for Differential and Biological Psychology at the University of Bonn, said.
The study showed that the thoughts of the addicts revolve around the Internet during the day; and a belief that their well-being is severely impacted if they have to go without access to the Internet.
The same genetic variation found to occur frequently in online addicts has already been linked to other forms of addiction, including nicotine addiction, and to loneliness and depression.
"What we already know about the nicotine acetylcholine receptor in the brain is that a mutation on the related gene promotes addictive behavior," Montag said.
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