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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 94-100

Pattern of Internet use among professionals in India: Critical look at a surprising survey result

Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Sandeep Grover
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-6748.90338

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Background: To study the pattern of Internet use across people of various professions who have access to it; the impact of Internet use on their personal, social, and occupational life; and to evaluate their Internet use on the International Classification of Diseases-Tenth Revision (ICD-10) dependence criteria and Young's Internet Addiction Diagnostic Questionnaire (IADQ). Materials and Methods: Hundred four respondents were assessed on a 31-items self-rated questionnaire covering all the ICD-10 criteria and Young's criteria for Internet addiction. Results: The typical profile of an Internet user was as follows: the mean duration of Internet use was 73.43 months (SD 44.51), two-thirds (65.38%) of them were using Internet on a regular basis for a period of more than a year, the mean duration of daily Internet use was 39.13 months (SD 35.97), the average time spent in Internet use was 2.13 h (SD 1.98) everyday, more than half (56.73%) of the sample was using Internet at least for 2 h/day, and the most common purpose of Internet use was educational for two-thirds (62.5%) of the sample. The five most commonly endorsed items were as follows: the need to use the Internet everyday (53.8%), Internet use helping to overcome bad moods (50%), staying online longer than one originally intends to (43.3%), eating while surfing (24%), and physical activity going down since one has started using the Internet (22.1%). When evaluated on ICD-10 substance dependence criteria and Young's IADQ separately, the prevalence of the 'cases' of Internet addiction came out to be 51.9 and 3.8%, respectively. Conclusions: The Internet affects the users' life in multiple ways. The sharp difference in the prevalence estimates of Internet addiction depending on the type of criteria used shows the fragility of the construct of Internet addiction. A cautious approach should be adopted while revising the nosological system to differentiate users from those who are dependent.

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