Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 458-467

Internet use patterns, internet addiction, and psychological distress among engineering university students: A study from India


1 Department of Clinical Psychology, Dr. MV Govindaswamy Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Hosur Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, K. S. Hegde Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
4 Department of Physiology, Sapthagiri Institute of Medical Science and Research Center, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
5 Department of Psychiatry, MIMER Medical College, Talegoan Dabhade, Pune, Maharashtra, India
6 Department of Biostatistics, Dr. MV Govindaswamy Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Hosur Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
7 St. Bonaventure University, New York, USA
8 Psychiatric Social Work, Dr. MV Govindaswamy Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Hosur Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anish V Cherian
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, Dr.MV Govindaswamy Centre, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, An Institute of National Importance (INI), Hosur Road, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_135_18

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Background: Internet addiction (IA) among university engineering students and its association with psychological distress can impact their educational progress, academic competence, and long-term career goals. Thus, there is a need to investigate the IA among engineering students. Objectives: This study was a first such attempt to explore internet use behaviors, IA, among a large group of engineering students from India, and its association with psychological distress primarily depressive symptoms. Methods: One thousand eighty six engineering students aged 18–21 years pursuing bachelors in engineering from the south Indian city of Mangalore participated in the study. The socio-educational and internet use behaviors data sheet was used to gather demographic information and patterns of internet use, Internet Addiction Test (IAT) was utilized to assess IA, and Self-Report Questionnaire (SRQ-20) assessed psychological distress primarily depressive symptoms. Results: Among the total N = 1086, 27.1% of engineering students met criterion for mild addictive internet use, 9.7% for moderate addictive internet use, and 0.4% for severe addiction to internet. IA was higher among engineering students who were male, staying in rented accommodations, accessed internet several times a day, spent more than 3 h per day on internet, and had psychological distress. Gender, duration of use, time spent per day, frequency of internet use, and psychological distress (depressive symptoms) predicted IA. Conclusions: A substantial proportion of engineering students have IA which can be detrimental for their educational progress in university studies and long-term career goals. Early identification and management of IA and psychological distress among engineering students is crucial.


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