Internet use behaviors, internet addiction and psychological distress among medical college students: A multi centre study from South India (2018)

Asian J Psychiatr. 2018 Jul 30;37:71-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2018.07.020. [Epub ahead of print]

Anand N1, Thomas C2, Jain PA3, Bhat A4, Thomas C5, Prathyusha PV6, Aiyappa S7, Bhat S8, Young K9, Cherian AV10.



Internet Addiction (IA) among medical students and its association with psychological distress can impact their academic progress and long term career goals. IA would also indirectly impact community of health care professionals and the society. Thus, there is a need to investigate the IA among medical students.


This study was a first such attempt to explore internet use behavior’s, IA, among a large group of medical students across multiple centers and its association with psychological distress primarily depression.


1763 medical students aged 18 to 21 years, pursuing Bachelor of Medicine; Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from three south Indian cities of Bangalore, Mangalore and Trissur participated in the study. The socio-educational and internet use behaviors data sheet was used to gather demographic information and patterns of internet use, IA Test (IAT) was utilized to assess IA and Self-Report Questionnaire (SRQ-20) assessed psychological distress primarily depression.


Among the total N = 1763, 27% of medical students met criterion for mild addictive internet use, 10.4% for moderate addictive internet use, and 0.8% for severe addiction to internet. IA was higher among medical students who were male, staying in rented accommodations, accessed internet several times a day, spent more than 3 h per day on internet and had psychological distress. Age, gender, duration of use, time spent per day, frequency of internet use and psychological distress (depression) predicted IA.


A substantial proportion of medical students have IA which can be detrimental for their medical education progress and long term career goals. Early identification and management of IA and psychological distress among medical students is crucial.

KEYWORDS: Depression; Internet addiction; Internet use behaviors; Medical students; Psychological distress

PMID: 30145540

DOI: 10.1016/j.ajp.2018.07.020