Problematic Internet use (PIU) is becoming a prevalent and serious problem among college students. Rates of PIU are higher in men, which may be due to psychological variables, such as comorbid psychological disorders and beliefs about one's body. We examined the ability of psychological distress, coping style, and body esteem to predict levels of PIU in men and women in a sample of 425 undergraduate students (46.8 percent male; mean age=19.0, SD=1.7). For men, phobic anxiety, wishful thinking, and overweight preoccupation were significant predictors of increased PIU. For women, depression, keeping to oneself, and decreased tension reduction were associated with increased PIU. The findings suggest that men and women may have different psychological reasons for excessive Internet use, including different types of psychological distress and coping styles. Unlike women, men may use the Internet because of weight concerns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Human-Computer Interaction
- Computer Science Applications