Connecting Internet Addiction with Psychological Stressors

By Annamaria Cavaleri ‘22

Figure 1. Electronic devices popularly used for Internet access are shown.

Although many students see the internet as a helpful tool in their education and career goals, research suggests that suffering from Internet Addiction (IA) may actually hinder the students’ success, particularly pre-health students (1). The Young Internet Addiction Test – an internationally verified test – assesses a respondent’s IA by measuring the impact of internet usage on general productivity, emotions, and social behavior. A study that assessed the correlation between internet addiction and psychological stressors demonstrated that potential IA is even linked to depression, stress, anxiety, insomnia, and self-esteem.

A team of researchers at Saint Joseph University in Lebanon conducted a cross-sectional study with 600 Saint-Joseph University students studying pharmacy, medicine, and dentistry. The questionnaire- based survey the researchers used aimed to assess the prevalence of anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress, and self esteem in the participants. Data was collected using four surveys entitled “The Young Internet Addiction Test”, the “Insomnia Severity Index”, the “Depression Anxiety Stress Scales”, and the “Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale”.

Primarily, the researchers noted that the potential IA prevalence rate was significantly higher in males than in females, with males obtaining 23.6% prevalence rate and females 13.9%. Furthermore, their research displayed that potential IA is strongly correlated with insomnia (p-value < 0.00001), and this is exemplified by finding that students with potential Internet Addiction obtained higher sub-scores on the Insomnia Severity Index compared to normal Internet users. The group also found that students with potential IA had higher sub-scores on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales, which further correlates internet addiction with these psychological stressors. Most importantly, the results further demonstrated that self-esteem is not only related with IA, but it is also deeply embedded in the overall psychological profiles of students. An increase in insomnia, depression, anxiety, and stress appears to cause a decrease in self-esteem within university students (1).

This study suggests an evident link between internet addiction and insomnia, anxiety, self-esteem, stress, and depression. The researchers also emphasized the importance of detecting the causes low self-esteem in students since there is an inverse relationship between self-esteem and depression, anxiety, and suicide. Future studies should be done to demonstrate ways to lessen the prevalence of internet addiction in students’ lives.



  1. F. Younes, et. al., Internet addiction and relationships with insomnia, anxiety, depression, stress and self-esteem in university students: a cross-sectional designed study. PLOS One 11 (9) (2018).
  2. Image retrieved from:

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