Submitted: 05 Feb 2019
Revised: 06 May 2019
Accepted: 11 May 2019
First published online: 06 Aug 2019
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Health Promot Perspect. 2019;9(3):207-213.
doi: 10.15171/hpp.2019.29
  Abstract View: 18
  PDF Download: 24

Original Article

Prevalence of problematic internet use disorder and associated risk factors and complications among Iranian university students: a national survey

Jalal Poorolajal 1,2,3 ORCiD, Jamal Ahmadpoor 1 * ORCiD, Younes Mohammadi 1,2,3 ORCiD, Ali Reza Soltanian 1,2 ORCiD, Seyedeh Zahra Asghari 1 ORCiD, Ehsan Mazloumi 1 * ORCiD

1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran
2 Research Center for Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran
3 Modeling of Non-communicable Diseases Research Center, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran
4 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran
5 Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran
6 Department of English Language and Persian Literature, School of Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran

Abstract

Background: Despite the growing epidemic of problematic Internet use (PIU), little information is available on PIU and related factors in Iran. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 4261 university students among 13universities throughout the country in 2017. The data collection tool included demographic characteristics, the status of using the Internet, social media, computer games, tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs, suicide ideation and attempt, and unprotected sex. PIU was measured using the15-item PIU questionnaire. The status of general health was evaluated using the 28-item general health questionnaire (GHQ) questionnaire. The simple and multiple logistic regression analysis were used to measure the crude and adjusted associations between various factors and PIU. Results: Of 4261 university students, 55.9% were female, 13.5% were smokers, 4.9% were drug abusers, 7.9% were alcohol abusers, 7.8% had unprotected sex in the past year, 7.4%had suicidal ideation in the past month, 1.7% had attempted suicide in the past year, and27.3% suffered from PIU. Only 61.1% had normal health. In contrast, 30.9%, 7.2%, and 0.8%had mild, moderate, and severe general health problems, respectively. There were significant relationships between PIU and age group 20-24 vs. <20 years (odds ratio [OR]=1.39; 95% CI:1.06, 1.82), single vs, married (OR=2.57; 95% CI: 1.85, 3.57), suicidal attempt (OR=2.77;95% CI: 1.47, 5.19), using online games (OR=1.31; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.60), and poor general health (OR=12.14; 95% CI: 4.53, 32.54). Conclusion: Nearly one-third of medical sciences students suffered from PIU. This unhealthy behavior was associated with poor general health and elevated risk of suicidal behaviors. This health-threatening behavior provides an early warning signal that deserves special attention, otherwise, it may threaten both college students’ health and function.
Citation: Poorolajal J, Ahmadpoor J, Mohammadi Y, Soltanian AR, Asghari SZ, Mazloumi E. Prevalence of problematic internet use disorder and associated risk factors and complications among Iranian university students: a national survey. Health Promot Perspect. 2019;9(3):207-213. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2019.29.
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