Internet Addiction and its determinants among the Students of a Medical College in Kerala

M Madhusudan, Sunny D A Fernandes, Tessy Thomas, Alaka Unnikrishnan, Sharath S Malakkaran, Arjun H Krishnan, K P Hasna


Introduction: Internet has literally percolated every aspect of human life today including social communication, education, research, health seeking, banking, business, shopping, administration, and entertainment, so much so that we cannot imagine our lives without internet. However, internet can be misused and excess internet use can be pathological and addictive. Younger population and especially college students are more vulnerable to this addiction because of their psychosocial and environmental characteristics. This internet addiction can lead to various psychological, physical, as well as social problems. Hence, in this background, the present study was conducted to find out the prevalence of internet addiction among medical students and also its determinants. Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study done at DM Wayanad Institute of Medical Sciences, Wayanad District, Kerala, between January and June 2018. All the undergraduate medical students of the college were the study subjects. Data were collected using a predesigned and pretested self-administered questionnaire (Young’s internet addiction test). Completed responses were obtained from a total of 729 students. Results: 5.5% were found to have no internet addiction and 94.5% were found to have internet addiction. 60.8%, 31.3%, and 2.5% were found to have mild, moderate and severe internet addiction, respectively. The prevalence of internet addiction was more among males compared to females, Part II, final phase students compared to other phase students, management quota students compared to other quota students, Christians compared to other religions, urban origin students compared to rural origin, and day scholars compared to hostellites. However, only sex, phase of MBBS, and place of origin were found to have a statistically significant association (P= <0.01, 0.026 and 0.049 respectively). There was a weak negative correlation (r = −0.117) between the percentage of marks obtained in previous university examination and IA scores, and the correlation was found to be statistically significant (P= <0.01). Conclusions: The prevalence of internet addiction among the study subjects was significantly more compared to other studies. Sex, phase of MBBS, and place of origin were found to have a statistically significant association with internet addiction. There was a negative correlation between the degree of internet addiction and academic performance.

Key words: Internet addiction, Kerala, medical college, students

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