Behaviors Associated with Internet Use in Military Medical Students and Residents (2019)

Mil Med. 2019 Apr 2. pii: usz043. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usz043.

Schmidt G1, Valdez M2, Farrell M3, Bishop F4, Klam WP1, Doan AP1,4.



Problematic use of video games, social media, and Internet-related activities may be associated with sleep deprivation and poor work performance. The Internet Addiction Test was given to military medical and nursing students and housestaff to assess problematic Internet use.


Medical and nursing students at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and residents from Naval Medical Center San Diego were contacted via email (n = 1,000) and given a survey that included the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and questions asking about other specific lifestyle variables. Individuals who received an Internet Addiction Score (IAS) ≥50 were identified as likely experiencing harmful effects of Internet addiction (IA).


Of 399 surveys submitted, 68 were omitted due to gross incompletion or failing to finish the entirety of the IAT. Of the participants included, 205 (61.1%) were male and 125 (37.9%) were female. The mean age was 28.6 years old (S.D. = 5.1 years). In regards to training status, completed surveys were assessed for 94 medical residents, 221 School of Medicine students, and 16 Graduate School of Nursing students. Our survey showed 5.5% of the participants (n = 18) indicated problems with Internet use that are concerning for IA.


The study results indicated that our population showed problematic Internet use in the lower range of global estimates of IA. Rates of IA further decreased between medical students and residents. Multiple lifestyle variables were significantly associated with IA score and may serve as indicators of a higher score. Interestingly, the use of social media during sleeping hours was most significantly associated with increased IAS. This paper discusses IA among military medical and nursing trainees and how problematic Internet use may affect work performance and force readiness.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States 2019. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

KEYWORDS: Excessive use of Internet; Internet addiction; electronic media; housestaff; medical student; problematic use of video games; sleep; social media; trainee

PMID: 30938768

DOI: 10.1093/milmed/usz043