Loneliness and internet addiction in doctors and medical students: a cross-sectional study

Cüneyt Ardiç, Sibel İnecikli, Celile Hatipoğlu


Background: Our aim in this study is to determine the level of internet addiction in medical school students and primary care physicians and the factors affecting them.

Methods: A 68 physicians and 167 students participated in this descriptive study. The participants were administered the young ınternet addiction test, UCLA loneliness scale and asked to respond to survey questions about their ssociodemographic characteristics, and the relations were evaluated with appropriate statistical methods.

Results: It has been identified that playing games online, surfing the internet aimlessly and loneliness score affected internet addiction regardless of other variables (p<0.05). A statistically significant correlation between addiction level and age (r= (-0.341), p<0,001), loneliness score (r=0,284, p<0,001) and online time (r=0,387, p<0,001) has been discovered.

Conclusions: In this study, it was found statistically significant that students with internet addiction stayed online for long periods of time and it seemed in line with the criteria observed in substance use disorders such as longer duration of use than intended and not being able to spare time for other activities.


Internet addiction, Loneliness, Physicians, Medical students

Full Text:



Pies R. Should DSM-V Designate “Internet Addiction” a Mental Disorder?. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2009;6(2):31-37.

Cash H, Rae CD, Steel AH, Winkler A. Internet Addiction: A Brief Summary of Research and Practice. Current Psychiatry Reviews. 2012;8(4):292-298.

Goldberg I. Internet Addiction Disorder. 1999. Available at duchonf/humor/internetaddiction.html.

Young KS. Internet addiction: The emergence of a new clinical disorder. Cyberpsychol Behav. 1996;3:237-44.

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Available at: psychiatrists/practice/dsm.

Whang LS, Lee S, Chang G. Internet over-users’ psychological profiles: a behavior sampling analysis on internet addiction. Cyberpsychol Behav. 2003;6:143-50.

Bahrainian SA, Alizadeh KH, Raeisoon MR, Gorji OH, Khazaee A. Relationship of Internet addiction with self-esteem and depression in university students. J preventive medicine hygiene. 2014;55(3):86.

Chang MK, Law SP. Factor structure for Young’s Internet Addiction Test: A confirmatory study. Computers in Human Behavior. 2008;24(6):2597-619.

Jang KS, Hwang SY, Choi JY. Internet addiction and psychiatric symptoms among Korean adolescents. J School Health. 2008;78(3):165-71.

Grohol JM. Internet addiction guide. Recuperado el. 1999;6:25-6.

Thatcher A, Goolam, S. Development and psychometric properties of the problematic internet use questionnaire. South African J Psychology. 2005;35(4):793-809.

Young KS. Internet addiction test manual. Unpublished manuscript, Young KS. Clinical assessment of internet-addicted clients. In: Young, Abreu C., editors. Internet addiction: A handbook and guide to evaluation and treatment. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons;2011:19-34.

Russell D, Peplau LA, Cutrona CE. The revised UCLA Loneliness Scale: Concurrent and discriminant validity evidence. J personality social psychology. 1980;39(3):472.

Kaya F, Delen E, Young KS. Psychometric properties of the Internet Addiction Test in Turkish. J Behavioral Addictions. 2016;5(1):130-4.

Demir A. The reliability and validity of UCLA loneliness scale. J Psychology. 1989;7:14-18.

Morahan-Martin JM. The relationship between loneliness and internet use and abuse. Cyberpsychol Behav. 1999;2:431-9.

Inderbiten HM, Walters KS, Bukowski AL. The role of social anxiety in adolescent peer relations: Differences among sociometric status groups and rejected sub-groups. J Clin Child Psychol. 1997;26:338-48.

Kubey RW, Lavin MJ, Barrows JR. Internet use and collegiate academic performance decrements: Early findings. J Communication. 2001;51:366-82.

Ang RP, Chong WH, Chye S. Loneliness and generalized problematic internet use: Parents' perceived knowledge of adolescents' online activities as a moderator. Comp Human Behav. 2012;28:1342-7.

Cao H, Sun Y, Wan Y. Problematic Internet use in Chinese adolescents and its relation to psychosomatic symptoms and life satisfaction. BMC Public Health. 2011;14:11.

Willoughby T. A short-term longitudinal study of internet and computer game use by adolescent boys and girls: Prevalence, frequency of use, and psychosocial predictors. Develop Psychol. 2008;44:195-204.

Chou C, Hsiao MC. Internet addiction, usage, gratifica-tion, and pleasure experience: The Taiwan college students’ case. Computers Education. 2000;35:65-80.

Hall AS, Parsons J. Internet addiction: College student case study using best practices in cognitive behavior therpy. J Ment Health Couns. 2001;23:312-28.

J Jang KS, Hwang SY, Choi JY. Internet addiction and psychiatric symptoms among Korean adolescents. J School Health. 2008;78(3):165-71.

Laconi S, Andréoletti A, Chauchard E. Problematic Internet use, time spent online and personality traits. L'Encephale. 2016;42(3):214-8.

Yeh YC, Ko HC, Wu JY, Cheng CP. Gender differences in relationships of actual and virtual social support to Internet addiction mediated through depressive symptoms among college students in Taiwan. Cyberpsychol behavior. 2008;11(4):485-7.

Papacharissi Z, Rubin AM. Predictors of Internet use. J broadcast electronic media. 2000;44(2):175-96.

Van den Eijnden RJ, Meerkerk GJ, Vermulst AA, Spijkerman R, Engels RC. Online communication, compulsive Internet use, and psychosocial well-being among adolescents: a longitudinal study. Developmental psychology. 2008;44(3):655.

Morahan-Martin J, Schumacher P. Incidence and correlates of pathological Internet use among college students. Computers in human behavior. 2000;16(1):13-29.

Festl R, Scharkow M, Quandt T. Problematic computer game use among adolescents, younger and older adults. Addiction. 2013;108(3):592-9.

Beranuy M, Carbonell X, Griffiths MD. A qualitative analysis of online gaming addicts in treatment. International J Mental Health Addiction. 2013;11(2):149-61.

Rahman NI, Aziz AA, Zainal Zulkifli MA, Nasir FH, Pergalathan S, Hamidi MI, et al. Perceptions of students in different phases of medical education of the educational environment: Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin. Advances in medical education and practice. 2015;6:211.

Haque M, Rahman NI, Zulkifli Z, Ismail S. Antibiotic prescribing and resistance: knowledge level of medical students of clinical years of university Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2016;12:413-26.

Tackett S, Bakar HA, Shilkofski NA, Coady N, Rampal K, Wright S. Profiling medical school learning environments in Malaysia: a validation study of the Johns Hopkins learning environment scale. J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2015;12:39.