Journal of Mental Health and Human Behaviour

: 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27--30

Internet addiction and psychological well-being among high school students of Mangaluru city, Karnataka, India

Neha Shresta, Mackwin Kenwood D'mello 
 Department of Public Health, K S Hegde Medical Academy, Nitte (Deemed to be University), Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Mackwin Kenwood D'mello
Department of Public Health, K S Hegde Medical Academy, Nitte (Deemed to be University), Mangalore, Karnataka


Background: Despite the controversies on the effects of Internet usage, the habit of Internet usage is increasing in all ages and rampant among the young ages making it critical to understand its relationship with psychological well-being (PWB). Objectives: The study was conducted to determine the relation of Internet addiction with PWB among school students aged 12–16 years. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among high school students in Mangaluru city. A total of 654 students participated in the study. Data on Internet usage and PWB were obtained using Young's Internet Addiction Scale and Ryff's Psychological Well-being Scale, respectively. The relation between Internet addictions with PWB was analyzed using correlation statistics. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 14.3 ± 1.007 years, and 62.7% were males. There was a weak negative correlation between PWB of the high school students and Internet addiction scores (r = −0.255, P < 0.001). Students with a higher level of Internet addiction were more likely to be low in PWB. Linear regression showed that Internet addiction was a significant negative predictor of PWB (β = −0.272, P < 0.001). Conclusion: PWB of high school students is negatively affected by Internet addiction. Hence, it is crucial to develop strategies addressing young adolescents for effective prevention of problematic Internet use.

How to cite this article:
Shresta N, Kenwood D'mello M. Internet addiction and psychological well-being among high school students of Mangaluru city, Karnataka, India.J Mental Health Hum Behav 2020;25:27-30

How to cite this URL:
Shresta N, Kenwood D'mello M. Internet addiction and psychological well-being among high school students of Mangaluru city, Karnataka, India. J Mental Health Hum Behav [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 17 ];25:27-30
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Full Text


Internet is one of the most cost-effective global communication systems. In 2017, the World Internet Stats estimated about 4.15 billion users around the world. With 462 million Internet users, India is the second-largest online market, ranked behind China (who has a whopping 772 million users).[1]

Rapid penetration of Internet is increasingly changing childhood with more and more children going online around the world. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India, India at present has an estimated 281 million daily users. Around 60% of all Internet users are youngsters and students.[2] A study conducted among Portuguese adolescent determined that around half of the participant's first exposure was at the age of 10 years which indicates the alarming state of Internet exposure at an early stage of life.[3] Although the Internet has made life easier by making varied services accessible to all, it has also led some people spending too much time in it and giving rise to the concept of Internet addiction.

Internet addiction among adolescent can affect their daily performance routine, behavior, and emotional state.[4] Internet addiction in adolescent may result in changing their feeling, their trust on others, spending more time alone, and may get irritated quickly.[5],[6],[7] Moreover, various studies have determined Internet addiction as a negative predictor of psychological well-being (PWB).[4],[8],[9],[10] Furthermore, adolescents with problematic Internet use can suffer from a psychological problem such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem along with the academic, social, and moral dilemma.[5],[7],[11]

Studies conducted around the globe have estimated the prevalence of Internet addiction among adolescent ranging from 0.8% to 20.3%,[12] the result of studies conducted in India was also consistent with the global finding.[3],[13] However, there are scant in the investigations regarding Internet addiction and its relationship with PWB, particularly among adolescents in India. Therefore, the present study was conducted to determine the relation of Internet addiction with PWB among school students.

 Materials and Methods

Study design, study population, and sampling

This descriptive-analytical cross-sectional study was conducted in selected eight schools of Mangaluru city, of which five were private schools, two were government-aided schools, and one government school. The study included a total of 654 school students aged between 12 and 18 years. A two-stage sampling technique was used for data collection. Ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee. Written permission to conduct the study was obtained from the Block Education Office, of respective selected schools. Prior consent was obtained from respondents' parents and the respondents themselves.

The data were collected by self-administrating the questionnaire to the students, which consisted of information regarding sociodemography and Internet and device usage. The second part was Young's Internet Addiction Test Scale. It is a 5-point Likert scale with 20 questions. Every 20 items were summed up to give a single score ranging from 0 to 100. The third part was the Ryff's Scale which was used to assess PWB. In this study, the 42-item version was used. It consists of 6 subdimensions, namely autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations, the purpose of life, and self-acceptance. It is a 6-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree). In 42-item version scale, twenty items are positively worded and 22 questions are negatively worded. Before the analysis, negatively worded items were reverse-scored so that high value indicated well-being.

The questionnaire was translated to vernacular language (Kannada) and pilot was conducted involving 20 students to validate the reliability of the questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha coefficient for this scale was 0.786, showing acceptable internal consistency.

Sample size

The sample size was calculated using the formula n = Z2pq/d2 (where Z = 1.96 at 95% confidence; P = prevalence of Internet addiction, q = 1 − p; d = absolute error/precision). For this study, we presumed maximum variability, therefore P = 0.5; q = 0.5; d = 5% of p. The sample size thus yielded 384. With 1.5 as a design effect and 20% nonresponse, the total sample size determined to be 691.

Statistical analysis

Data entry and analysis was done using SPSS software version 16 (SPSS Inc., Chicago). Internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) of the scales was estimated, and the descriptive statistic was analyzed. Pearson's correlation coefficient determined the relation between Internet addiction and PWB, and simple linear regression was performed.


A total of 654 respondents were recruited for the study, of them 32 had no Internet exposure and hence were excluded from the study. A total of 622 respondents participated in the study. The mean age of the study population was 14.3 ± 1 years. About 76.5% of the respondents belonged to the age group of 14–16 years. More than half (62.7%) of the respondents were male, while 37.3% were female. Majority (62.6%) respondents were from the private school, followed by government-aided high schools (28.1%) and government high school (9.3%). About 35.6% of the respondents were from grade 8 and 9, respectively, while 28.8% were from class 10. The other descriptive statistics were noted in [Table 1].{Table 1}

A scatter plot [Figure 1] demonstrates a negative relationship between Internet addiction and PWB (i.e., higher the Internet addiction lower is the PWB).{Figure 1}

[Table 2] represents the correlation between Internet addiction and PWB, it was found that Internet addiction was significantly negatively correlated to PWB (rs = −0.255, P = 0.001). This indicates as the level of Internet addiction increased, the level of PWB decreased. Similar findings were observed in the subdimensions of PWB, autonomy (rs = −0.109, P = 0.001), environmental mastery (rs = −0.145, P = 0.001), personal growth (rs = −0.198, P = 0.001), positive relation (rs = −0.220, P = 0.001), purpose in life (rs = −0.131, P = 0.001), and self-acceptance (rs = −0.199, P = 0.001).{Table 2}

Simple linear regression analysis was performed with PWB as the dependent variable [Table 3]. It showed that Internet addiction was a negative predictor of PWB, (B = −0.272, P < 0.001,) indicating for every one unit increase in Internet addiction, PWB decreased by 27%. It also demonstrated that Internet addiction was also a negative predictor of subdimension of PWB. PWB decreases significantly as Internet addiction increases.{Table 3}


The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between Internet addiction and PWB. The results showed that Internet addiction was negatively correlated with PWB and its subdimension. Students with a higher level of Internet addiction are more likely to be low in PWB. The study observed that Internet addiction was a negative predictor of PWB and its subdimensions. This indicates that with every unit increase in the level of Internet addiction, the level of PWB and its subdimensions would decrease subsequently. A study conducted among Turkish students and Indian students determined that Internet addiction was significantly negatively correlated to PWB.[9],[10] This suggests that addiction to the Internet and PWB has an inverse relationship. Hence, it appears that if an individual can decrease the problematic usage of the Internet, they can enhance their PWB.

Limitation of this study may be noted. First, it is a cross-sectional study design; we cannot determine the causal relationship between Internet addiction and PWB and generalization of the results is limited. Second, a self-administered questionnaire was used as a study tool, so there is a problem of reporting bias, although confidentiality was assured in the study.


High school students are particularly a vulnerable group as they are receptive during this phase and more willing to use the Internet during their free time and the lack of guidance for proper use of Internet furthermore complicates the problem. The present study is an initial step toward understanding the relationship between Internet addiction and PWB. Moreover, this study has also identified “Internet addiction could be used as a means of the coping mechanism by the individual who has lower PWB” as a potential subject for further exploration. This information will be helpful for policymakers, program planner to address the problem, and researchers for new study in future.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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