Internet Addiction among Senior Medical Students in King Abdulaziz University, Prevalence and Association with Depression

  •  Marwan Bakarman    


INTRODUCTION: Excessive internet use can lead to negative outcomes such as poor academic performance and social isolation. Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of the internet addiction and to explore the factors associated with depression among medical students, King Abdul-Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

METHODS: The total number of senior medical students was 1049 in the academic years 2013-2014. An analytical cross sectional study was adopted. Stratified sampling technique with proportional allocation to recruit medical students. A self-administered questionnaire was used which adopted the 20-item Young’s internet addiction test (IAT) to explore the internet addictions, while the existence of depression was assessed using the centre for epidemiological studies depression scale (CES-D).

RESULTS: The study included 161 medical students, making the response rate of 78.2%. Majority (94.4%) had computer and 99.4% were using the internet. Community sites ranked first (40.6%), whereas general sites, chatting and emailing were preferred by 14.4%, 10% and 10% respectively. Internet addiction was reported among only five students (3.1%). Possible addiction was reported among 74 students (46.3%). Male students (66.2%) were more addicts to internet than females (44.6%) (P=0.007). The 4th year students reported the highest rate of internet addiction or possible addiction (70.3%) (P=0.003). All internet addicts were depressed, whereas 74.1% of possible addicts and 62.2% of non addicts were depressed (P=0.088). However, the trend in the prevalence of depression in the three different situations was statistically significant (P=0.034).

CONCLUSION: Internet addiction is growing hidden problem, which has psychological and social impact on medical students and requires preventive strategies and therapeutic interventions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.