Zdr Varst. 2016 May 10;55(3):202-211. eCollection 2016.
Internet use is an integral part of our everyday activities; however, Internet use may become problematic and harmful in a minority of cases. The majority of reported prevalence rates of problematic Internet use refer to adolescent samples, whereas epidemiological studies on representative adult populations are lacking. This study aimed to reveal the prevalence and characteristics of problematic Internet use in Slovenia.
Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire (PIUQ) was included in European Health Interview Study (EHIS) on representative Slovenian sample. The frequency of Internet use and problematic Internet use were both assessed.
59.9% of Slovenian adult population uses the Internet daily, and 3.1% are at risk of becoming problematic Internet users, 11% in the age group from 20 to 24 years. Those being at risk for becoming problematic Internet users are younger (mean age 31.3 vs. 48.3 for non-problematic users), more likely to be males (3.6% of males, whereas 2.6% of females are affected), students (12.0%), unemployed (6.3%) or unable to work (8.7%), single (6.5%), with high education (4.5%). Regression analysis revealed that the strongest predictor of being at risk for problematic Internet use is age (ß=-0.338, p<0.001); followed by high educational level (ß=0.145; p<0.001) and student status (ß=0.136; p<0.001).
3.1% of Slovenian adult population are at risk of becoming problematic Internet users, whereas 3 out of 20 Slovenian adolescents aged from 18 to 19 years are at risk (14.6%). Prevention programs and treatment for those affected are paramount, especially for the young generation.
Internet addiction; assessment; behavioural addiction; epidemiology; prevalence; problematic Internet use