Internet use, abuse, and dependence among students at a southeastern regional university (2007)

J Am Coll Health. 2007 Sep-Oct;56(2):137-44.

Fortson BL, Scotti JR, Chen YC, Malone J, Del Ben KS.


West Virginia University, USA. [email protected]



To assess Internet use, abuse, and dependence.


411 undergraduate students.


Ninety percent of participants reported daily Internet use. Approximately half of the sample met criteria for Internet abuse, and one-quarter met criteria for Internet dependence. Men and women did not differ on the mean amount of time accessing the Internet each day; however, the reasons for accessing the Internet differed between the 2 groups. Depression was correlated with more frequent use of the Internet to meet people, socially experiment, and participate in chat rooms, and with less frequent face-to-face socialization. In addition, individuals meeting criteria for Internet abuse and dependence endorsed more depressive symptoms, more time online, and less face-to-face socialization than did those not meeting the criteria.


Mental health and student affairs professionals should be alert to the problems associated with Internet overuse, especially as computers become an integral part of college life.