Internet Use Patterns, Internet Addiction, and Psychological Distress Among Engineering University Students: A Study from India (2018)

Indian J Psychol Med. 2018 Sep-Oct;40(5):458-467. doi: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_135_18.

Anand N1, Jain PA2, Prabhu S3, Thomas C4, Bhat A5, Prathyusha PV6, Bhat SU2, Young K7, Cherian AV8.



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

PMID: 30275622

PMCID: PMC6149312

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_135_18

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