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A Cross-sectional survey of internet use among medical faculty students ( )

Author : Abdullah Burak Uygur -Seyda Cankaya



Background and Aim: The internet plays an important role in our lives and is gradually becoming an indispensable part of our lives. An increase in psychosocial problems together with excessive internet use resulted in a new definition under the name of “internet addiction.” Although there are studies on internet addiction in our country, the lack of a specific study for medical faculty students, one of the groups that use the internet most commonly, draws attention. The purpose of this research was to determine the rate of internet addiction among medical faculty students, and to reveal the sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with internet addiction. Method: The study population (n=260) in this cross-sectional research consisted of 2nd year (n=135), 3rd year (n=72), and 4th year (n=53) students at the Medical Faculty of Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University (ALKU). The study data were collected using the Sociodemographic Data Form, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), the Young Internet Addiction Scale (YIAS), and the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-40). Clinical scales were applied to the students who volunteered to participate in the study after the approval of the ethics committee. Results: The rate of internet addiction among medical faculty students was 43.1%. YIAS scores were higher in male students and the difference in mean YIAS scores between the genders was statistically significant (p=0.033). YIAS scores were also higher in students aged 18-19 and 20 compared to those aged 21 or over (p=0.009). The risky-addicted user rate was higher among second-year students than in those in their third or fourth years (p=0.003). The numbers of risky-addicted internet users increased in line with duration of use (p=0.032). Positive correlation was determined between YIAS scores and BDI scores (Spearman's rho, p=0.004). Mean YIAS scores increased significantly with the severity of depression (p=0.012). No statistically significant correlation was determined between YIAS scores and BAI scores (Spearman's rho, p=0.065), and EAT-40 scores (p=0.751). Conclusion: The present study shows that the problem of internet addiction is being neglected and is not receiving the attention it deserves. The association between depression and internet addiction in this study makes it even more important that internet addiction be investigated in medical students exhibiting depressive symptoms. In addition to depression, male gender, young age, being in the early years of medical school, and a greater length of time spent online were identified as factors associated with internet addiction. In programs for struggling internet addiction, considering the gender difference in the planning of the programs, and creating a subtitle for male students more successful results can be obtained. Also it seems important that the programs to struggle internet addiction for medical faculty students should be carried out while the students are in the preparatory or first class of medicine faculty.

Keywords: Internet addiction, medical faculty students, young internet addiction scale, sociodemographic factors, depression