Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Screen Time: Findings From a Cross-Sectional Observational Study Among College Students From India

Authors

  • Swarndeep Singh National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre and Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  • Yatan Pal Singh Balhara Behavioral Addictions Clinic, National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre and Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  • Dheeraj Kattula National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre and Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  • Ragul Ganesh National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre and Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  • Rachna Bhargava National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre and Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  • Bandita Abhijita National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre and Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  • Amulya Gupta MBBS student, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  • Abhinav Gupta MBBS student, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4309/jgi.2022.9

Keywords:

screen time, COVID-19, students, quality of life, personality

Abstract

In this study, we aimed to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the amount and pattern of screen time among college students. The relationship between increased screen time and quality of life (QoL), COVID-related stress, and personality traits were also explored. A cross-sectional online survey-based study was conducted among Indian college students who were recruited by purposive sampling. Details regarding socio-demographics, amount and pattern of screen time usage, change in screen time patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and COVID-related stress were collected. In addition, personality traits and QoL were assessed with validated questionnaires. A total of 731 responses (51% female, mean age 20.7 years) were analysed. Of the participants, 93.2% self-reported an increase in daily screen time during COVID-19. The predominant reasons for the increased screen time were educational screen time (89.6%), streaming or watching videos for entertainment (82.8%), use of social media for non-communication purposes (78.1%), communication with friends and/or family members (76.2%), reading or watching news (65.9%), and interactive recreational screen time (44.7%). A small but significant negative correlation between increased screen time and QoL (rs= -0.154, p < .001) was found. Increased screen time due to the use of social media for non-communication purposes was associated with poorer QoL (U = 32947.50; p = .02) and greater COVID stress (U = 32381.50; p = .01). Educational screen time was the most common cause for increased screen time among college students and was not associated with negative effects on QoL. The context and purpose of screen time appears to be important in ascertaining the impact of screen time on QoL.

 

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Published

2022-01-31

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Original Article