Findings on the relationship between Internet addiction and psychological symptoms in Brazilian adults

André Luiz Monezi Andrade, Adriana Scatena, André Bedendo, Sonia Regina Fiorim Enumo, Letícia Lovato Dellazzana‐Zanon, Helena Bazanelli Prebianchi, Wagner Lara Machado, Denise Micheli
Published Online:
08 Apr 2020

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This study evaluated the prevalence of Internet addiction (IA) and its association with negative psychological symptoms in Brazilian adults. A network analysis was conducted to estimate specific variables and their expected influence on IA. In this cross‐sectional study, 15,476 adults (Mage = 37.5, SD = 9.59) completed an open web‐based survey. Three questionnaires were used: the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS‐21) and Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS). Based on IAT scores, participants were classified as No‐Risk user (NRU), Low‐Risk user (LRU) or High‐Risk user (HRU). We observed that 4.8% of the participants were classified in the HRU group. In addition, their risk for severe symptoms of depression was 10 times higher and, for anxiety, seven times higher than that in the NRU group (p < .001). Time spent using smartphones was also significantly higher in the HRU group (Mhours = 5.1, p < .001). The main factors associated with IA were depression, gender and anxiety, but the variable “having children” was the most influential in the IA network. These findings suggest that psychiatric symptoms are the main factors associated with IA among the adult population.

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