Facing Life Problems Through the Internet. The Link Between Psychosocial Malaise and Problematic Internet Use in an Adolescent Sample.
Keywords:technology use, problematic Internet use, adolescence, loneliness, social anxiety, affectivity
Scholars have highlighted the role of negative affect as key correlates of Problematic Internet Use (PIU). According to the assumption that Internet-related behaviours can be seen as mechanisms to cope with everyday life (Kardefelt-Winther, 2017), the present study aims to explore the relation between PIU and psychosocial malaise, expecting that adolescents with high levels of social anxiety, negative emotions, and loneliness are more likely to be associated to the problem group of Internet users. Measures of PIU (GPIUS–2), social anxiety (IAS), negative affectivity (PANAS), and loneliness (ILS) were detected in a sample of 766 students attending Year 9–11 (13–19 years old; 47% females) of public high schools in the territory of Lecce (Apulia–Italy). A sub-group of problematic Internet users was identified (n = 185) and a control group was selected (n = 187). A logistic regression was applied to estimate the effect of psychosocial variables on the differentiation between problematic and control Internet users. Results of the present cross-sectional study show that a higher level of social anxiety, negative emotions, and loneliness increases the probability of belonging to the group of problematic Internet users. No significant differences between males and females were found in GPIU levels. The findings show that, for a better understanding of PIU onset and maintenance among adolescents, it is important, to take into account the life problems which may lead young people to overindulge in Internet use.
Les scientifiques ont mis en lumière le rôle de l’affect négatif comme corrélat significatif de la dépendance. Partant de l’hypothèse que les comportements dans Internet peuvent être vus comme des mécanismes d’adaptation à la vie quotidienne (Kardefelt-Winther, 2017), notre étude visait à explorer la relation entre la cyberdépendance et le malaise psychosocial. On s’attendait à ce que les adolescents affichant un degré élevé d’anxiété sociale, d’émotions négatives et de solitude fassent partie du groupe d’internautes à problème. Des indicateurs de la cyberdépendance (GPIUS-2), de l’anxiété sociale (IAS), de l’affect négatif (PANAS) et de la solitude (ILS) ont été relevés dans un échantillon de 766 élèves de la 9e à la 11e année (13 à 19 ans; 47 % de filles) choisi dans des écoles secondaires publiques du territoire de Lecce (Apulia, Italie). Un sous-groupe d’internautes cyberdépendants a été défini (n=185) et un groupe contrôle sélectionné (n=187). Un modèle de régression logistique a été appliqué en vue d’estimer l’effet des variables psychosociales sur la différenciation entre joueurs cyberdépendants et joueurs du groupe contrôle. Les résultats de l’étude transversale montrent qu’un degré plus élevé d’anxiété sociale, d’émotions négatives et de solitude augmentait la probabilité d’appartenir au groupe d’internautes cyberdépendants. Aucune différence notable n’a été constatée entre les hommes et les femmes quant au degré de cyberdépendance. Les résultats indiquent qu’une compréhension plus fine du développement de la cyberdépendance et de sa persistance chez les adolescents devra tenir compte des problèmes vécus dans leur vie personnelle qui les inciteraient à un usage excessif d’Internet.
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