The association between internet addiction, social phobia and depression in medical college students

Karthikeyan Elavarasan, Thirunaaukarasu Dhandapani, Prasan Norman, Vidya D. C., Geetha Mani


Background: Internet has become an integral part of day-to-day life of the university students. It has become indispensable. It gives unlimited access to information; it keeps you updated with the latest techniques and drugs. But internet usage is known to lead to addictive behavior, and Internet addiction threatens to develop into a major public health issue in the near future in a rapidly developing country like India.

Methods: A study was conducted in a medical college of 600 students, of which 489 gave consent to participate. They were evaluated using a questionnaire which included an internet addiction scale to assess internet addiction, social phobia inventory to assess social phobia and depression and somatic scale to assess depression.

Results: Of the 489 students who participated, 54.4% were females.63.8% had mild internet addiction and only 0,4% had severe addiction. Of those suffering from internet addiction 52.5% of the students were suffering from social phobia. It was found that students with internet addiction had three times the risk of developing social phobia, four times the risk of developing depression when compared with students without internet addiction.

Conclusions: Excessive use of internet affects the academic achievements of students. Students addicted to internet are more involved in it and spend more time online than their studies which invariably affects their grades. Seminars and media can play an important role in making people aware of causes and effects of internet addiction.


Internet addiction, Social phobia, Depression

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