A Cross-Sectional Study on the Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Ill Effects of Internet Addiction Among Medical Students in Northeastern India

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Objective: To evaluate Internet addiction among medical students in northeastern India and gain detailed knowledge about the prevalence, risk factors, and ill effects commonly associated with the disorder.

Method: The cross-sectional study sample comprised 188 medical students from Silchar Medical College and Hospital (Silchar, Assam, India). Students completed a sociodemographic form and an Internet use questionnaire, both created for this study, and the Young’s 20-Item Internet Addiction Test after they received brief instructions. Data were collected during a10-day period in June 2015.

Results: Of the 188 medical students, 46.8% were at increased risk of Internet addiction. Those who were found to be at increased risk had longer years of Internet exposure (P = .046) and always online status (P = .033). Also, among this group, the men were more prone to develop an online relationship. Excessive Internet usage also led to poor performance in college (P < .0001) and feeling moody, anxious, and depressed (P < .0001).

Conclusions: The ill effects of Internet addiction include withdrawal from real-life relationships, deterioration in academic activities, and a depressed and nervous mood. Internet use for nonacademic purposes is increasing among students, thus there is an immediate need for strict supervision and monitoring at the institutional level. The possibility of becoming addicted to the Internet should be emphasized to students and their parents through awareness campaigns so that interventions and restrictions can be implemented at the individual and family levels.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2016;18(2):doi:10.4088/PCC.15m01909

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.15m01909