The Neuropsychopharmacology European College found that people with an internet addiction are more likely to suffer from a mental illness than those who only browse the online medium when bored or when at work. It seems like college students are the most affected age group.
The Level of Internet Addiction Was Measured
The researchers involved in the study used the standard IAT test to determine the level of Internet addiction of the respondents. They also used an alternative scale that the team created especially for this experiment.
Now that the internet usage rate is growing at a fast pace, researchers are fearing that individuals have problems coping with their regular online presence. The IAT measured the amount of time spent on the internet compared with other daily activities.
However, the Chief Researcher of the study, Michael Van Ameringen, points out that the IAT might be overrated since it was developed in the 1990s when Internet traffic was still scarce compared to 2016. At the time in which the test was developed, the concepts of social media and smartphones were nonexistent so the IAT might be outdated, and it could also generate plenty of false positive results.
The Sample Consisted of College Students
The scientists used a sample of 254 college students. They were all given the IAT, and their general mental health was evaluated. According to the IAT results, only 33 percent of the participants suffered from internet addiction, while the new scale discovered that the number of individuals addicted to the internet was of 107.
While screening for the level of internet addiction, the researchers also searched for any indication of a mental health issue like impulsiveness, anxiety, inattention, and ADHD.
According to Van Ameringer, those who scored a positive result in both internet addiction tests were more likely to have problems with time management, planning, impulsivity, anxiety, and depression.
Researchers Can Only Show a Link Between the Two
The researcher added that the prevalence of addiction to the online medium might be severely underestimated. Unfortunately, the survey used a small sample, and its results can only prove a link between internet addiction and poor mental health.
The team involved in the research declared that they would continue to study this phenomenon in a broader sample.
How much time do you spend on the internet?
Image source: Flickr