Indian J Psychol Med. 2018 Sep-Oct;40(5):458-467. doi: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_135_18.
Internet addiction (IA) among university engineering students and its association with psychological distress can impact their educational progress, academic competence, and long-term career goals. Thus, there is a need to investigate the IA among engineering students.
This study was a first such attempt to explore internet use behaviors, IA, among a large group of engineering students from India, and its association with psychological distress primarily depressive symptoms.
One thousand eighty six engineering students aged 18-21 years pursuing bachelors in engineering from the south Indian city of Mangalore participated in the study. The socio-educational and internet use behaviors data sheet was used to gather demographic information and patterns of internet use, Internet Addiction Test (IAT) was utilized to assess IA, and Self-Report Questionnaire (SRQ-20) assessed psychological distress primarily depressive symptoms.
Among the total N = 1086, 27.1% of engineering students met criterion for mild addictive internet use, 9.7% for moderate addictive internet use, and 0.4% for severe addiction to internet. IA was higher among engineering 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. Gender, duration of use, time spent per day, frequency of internet use, and psychological distress (depressive symptoms) predicted IA.
A substantial proportion of engineering students have IA which can be detrimental for their educational progress in university studies and long-term career goals. Early identification and management of IA and psychological distress among engineering students is crucial.
Depressive symptoms; engineering students; internet addiction; internet use behaviors; psychological distress