Problematic Internet Use and Emotional States Among Secondary School Students

Kristina Sesar, Arta Dodaj, Marija Jurišić


Objective – The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between problematic Internet use and negative emotional states among secondary school pupils.

Method – The sample consisted of 326 participants, ranging from 16 to 19 years of age. A Croatian adaptation of the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale was used to assess negative emotional state levels. The problems related to Internet use (obsession, neglect and control disorders) were assessed using the Problematic Internet Use Questionnaire.

Results – Girls had statistically more significant difficulties with the inability to control Internet use and with the inability to end Internet use, in comparison to boys. Pupils who spent more time on the Internet had higher results on the obsession, neglect and control subscales in comparison to those who spent less time on the Internet.  Furthermore, girls experienced higher levels of anxiety and stress than boys. The results of the regression analyses revealed that depression was significantly predicted by the time spent on the Internet and all three forms of problematic Internet use. In addition, it was found that neglect of daily activities and time spent on the Internet predicted negative emotional states of anxiety and stress.

Conclusion – The results of this study confirm the positive relationship between problematic Internet use and negative emotional states in adolescents.


Problematic internet use; Depression; Anxiety; Stress; Secondary school students

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