Predicting problematic internet use in men and women: The contributions of psychological distress, coping style, and body esteem

Melanie Dyan Hetzel-Riggin, Jacob R. Pritchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-525
Number of pages7
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications

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