Internet Use and Addiction Among Medical Students in Qassim University, Saudi Arabia

Mohamed H. Taha, Khalid Shehzad, Ahmed S. Alamro, Majid Wadi


ABSTRACT: Objectives: This study aimed to measure the prevalence of Internet use and addiction and determine its association with gender, academic performance and health among medical students. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted between December 2017 and April 2018 at the College of Medicine, Qassim University, Buraydah, Saudi Arabia. The validated Internet Addiction Test questionnaire was distributed by simple random methods to medical students (N = 216) in the pre-clinical phase (first-, second- and third-years). A chi-square test was used to determine significant relationships between Internet use and addiction and gender, academic performance and health. Results: A total of 209 student completed the questionnaire (response rate: 96.8%) and the majority (57.9%) were male. In total, 12.4% were addicted to the Internet and 57.9 had the potential to become addicted. Females were more frequent Internet users than males (P = 0.006). Academic performance was affected in 63.1% of students and 71.8% lost sleep due to late-night Internet use, which affected their attendance to morning activities. The majority (59.7%) expressed feeling depressed, moody or nervous when they were offline. Conclusion: Internet addiction among medical students at Qassim University was very high, with addiction affecting academic performance and psychological well-being. Suitable interventional and preventive measures are needed for proper Internet use to protect students’ mental and physical health.

Keywords: Internet; Addictive Behavior; Medical Students; Universities; Academic Performance; Saudi Arabia.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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