Problematic Internet use and associated mental health issues in South Korean Internet users (2017)

Lee, T. K., J. Kim, E. J. Kim, G. Kim, S. Lee, Y. J. Kang, J. Lee, Y. Nam, and K. Young-Mi.

European Psychiatry 41 (2017): S868. rights and content


The Internet is commonly used in modern society; however, Internet use may become a problematic behaviour. There is an increasing need for research on problematic Internet use (PIU) and its’ associated risk factors.


This study aims to explore the prevalence and health correlates of problematic Internet use among South Korean adults.


We recruited the participants aged between 18 and 84 years old among the online panel of an online research service. The sample size of the survey was 500. Of these 500 participants, 51.4% (n = 257) were men and 48.6% (n = 243) were women. A participant was classified as a problematic Internet use (PIU) if his/her total score of Young’s Internet Addiction Scale (YIA) was above 50. Stress Response Index (SRI), Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence, lifetime average caffeine consumption, and sociodemographic query form were used in the collection of data. The t test and chi-square test were used for data analysis.


One hundred ninety-seven (39.4%) of the participants was classified into the PIU group. There was no difference of gender and education between PIU and normal users. However, PIU group was younger (mean 39.5 years) than normal users (mean 45.8 years). PIU group was more likely to have high levels of perceived stress, nicotine dependence, and drink more often caffeinated beverages (P < 0.05).


These data indicate that problematic Internet use is associated with perceived stress level, nicotine and caffeine use in South Korean Internet users. More research is needed to better understand the relationship between Internet use and mental health issues.