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Adorjan, Kristina; Langgartner, Simon; Maywald, Maximilian; Karch, Susanne; Pogarell, Oliver (2020): A cross-sectional survey of internet use among university students. In: European archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience
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Abstract

The last 2~decades have seen an increase in the number of reports of excessive internet use. Therefore, this study aimed to examine internet use among university students to gain more insight into the novel phenomenon of addictive internet use (AIU). Data were collected by the means of an online questionnaire sent to 4391 students. Approximately 10% of the 4391 students could be included in the statistical analysis. Of those 483 students, almost all (99.2%) used the internet, and a quarter (24.8%) showed AIU. The students used the internet mostly for information searches, random browsing, social networking, and online shopping; however, AIU was seen most often in the areas of social networking, random browsing, information searches, gaming, and pornography. One in four of the respondents showed addictive behavior in at least one area of internet use. Students with AIU in the area of random browsing were significantly less far advanced in their studies than those without AIU, and well-being was significantly poorer across AIU groups than in those who did not show AIU. The study confirms the importance of AIU, as reflected in the high prevalence of AIU among the students and the significantly lower level of well-being in those with AIU. Undifferentiated consideration of AIU does not do justice to its various facets, and future research should consider all areas of internet use, with the aim to increase understanding of the underlying mechanisms of AIU and develop more differentiated treatment approaches.