Prevalence, associated factors and impact of loneliness and interpersonal problems on internet addiction: A study in Chiang Mai medical students (2017)

Asian J Psychiatr. 2017 Dec 28;31:2-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2017.12.017.

Simcharoen S1, Pinyopornpanish M1, Haoprom P2, Kuntawong P1, Wongpakaran N1, Wongpakaran T3.



Internet addiction is common among medical students, and the prevalence is higher than the general population. Identifying and creating solutions for this problem is important. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence and associated factors, particularly loneliness and interpersonal problems among Chiang Mai medical students.


Of 324 first to sixth year medical students, 56.8% comprised females with a mean age of 20.88 (SD 1.8). All completed questionnaires related to the objectives and activities of internet use, the Young Internet Addiction Test, the UCLA loneliness scale, and the Interpersonal Problems Inventory were employed to identify internet addiction.


In all, 36.7% of the subjects exhibited internet addiction, mostly at mild level. Amount of time used daily, loneliness and interpersonal problems were strong predictors (beta = 0.441, p < 0.05, beta = 0.219, p < 0.001 and beta = 0.203 p < 0.001, respectively), whereas age and sex were not. All objectives of using internet contributed to the variance of internet addiction score. For internet activities, only non-academic or studying contributed. The final model accounted for 42.8% of total variance of the internet addiction score.


Even though most addiction was at a mild level, careful strategies should be applied to better understand the situation. Along with a screening for potential internet addiction among medical students, attention should be paid to identifying those who experience loneliness and interpersonal problems, because both are strong predictors that can be improved by a variety of appropriate intervention.

KEYWORDS: Internet addiction; Interpersonal problems; Loneliness; Medical students

PMID: 29306727

DOI: 10.1016/j.ajp.2017.12.017