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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-28

A cross-sectional online survey of compulsive internet use and mental health of young adults in Malaysia

1 Department of Pre Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tunku Abdul Rahman University, Selangor, Malaysia
2 Department of Population Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tunku Abdul Rahman University, Selangor, Malaysia

Correspondence Address:
Nizar A. M. Kutty
Department of Pre Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tunku Abdul Rahman University, Jalan Sungai Long, Cheras, Kajang, Selangor 43000
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2230-8229.128770

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Background: The last decade has seen the emergence of the internet as the prime communication medium changing the way people live and interact. Studies from various countries have reported on internet addiction and its association with mental health, but none have come from Malaysia. Objectives: We aimed at assessing the frequency of the use of various internet applications and exploring the association of compulsive internet use with mental health and socio-demographic factors. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was carried out among participants registered for the monthly opinion poll survey of University Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia. The questionnaire contained socio-demographic information, the use of various internet applications on a five-point Likert scale, compulsive internet use scale (CIUS) and 12 item general health questionnaire (GHQ-12). Correlations and linear regression analyzes were carried out. Results: Of the 330 respondents, 182 were females and 148 were males. The mean age was 23.17 (SD = 3.84). Mean CIUS score was 19.85 (SD = 10.57) and mean GHQ score was 15.47 (SD = 6.29). Correlation coefficients of CIUS score with age, years of use and daily hours of internet use were −0.118 (P = 0.03), −0.014 (P = 0.81) and 0.242 (P < 0.001) respectively. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that age (β = −0.111, P = 0.033) and marital status (β = −0.124, P = 0.018) were negatively associated with CIUS scores whereas daily hours of internet use (β = 0.269, P = 0.001) and GHQ score (β = 0.259, P = 0.001) were positively associated with the CIUS score. Conclusions: Compulsive internet use was correlated with GHQ score. More research is needed to confirm our results. Psychologists may consider assessing internet addiction when evaluating young psychiatric patients.

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Journal of Family and Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 05th September, 2010