Prevalence of Internet Addiction and its Association with General Health Status among High School Students in Isfahan, Iran

Authors

1 Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Islamic Republic of Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

3 MSc Student Research Committee and Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

4 MSc Student of Clinical Psychology, Islami Azad University Naeen Branch, Naeen, Iran.

5 Student Research Committee and Department of Public Health, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

6 MSc Student Research Committee and Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

Abstract

Background: Internet has played an increasingly important role in people’s lives; however, there is a global concern that it may cause negative effects on health. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of Internet addiction (IA), and its relationship with general health status among high school students.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study using a multistage proportionate sampling technique conducted among 10-15 year-old students in Isfahan, Iran. Data were collected from 721 students in 5 educational areas of Isfahan. A total of 721 students filled out a self-report questionnaire consisted of two parts; the first was Young Internet Addiction Test and the second was General Health Questionnaire (GHQ28).  Data was analyzed using SPSS software version 16.0.
Results: Of the 721 students, 52% (375 students) were male. The average age of students was 15.75±1.5 years old. The prevalence rate of Internet addiction among adolescents was 41.2% non-addicts, 53.7% exposed to IA, and 5.1% Internet addicts. Whereas there was a significant difference between boys and girls in IA (P=0.004). In this study, Internet addiction was found to have an independent relationship with parent education and household income but it had a significant negative relationship with the general health aspect including physical health (r=0.3, P<0.001), depression (r=0.4, P<0.001), sleep (r=0.4, P<0.001), and social function (r=0.25, P<0.001).
Conclusion: Based on the results, the prevalence of Internet addiction was high among high school students and overuse of the Internet by students may cause depression, decreased mental health and academic performance. Therefore, education about the proper use of the Internet is necessary for high school students.

Keywords