Internet addiction has become an increasingly researched area in many Westernized countries. However, there has been little research in developing countries such as Iran, and when research has been conducted, it has typically utilized small samples. This study investigated the relationship of Internet addiction with stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness in 1052 Iranian adolescents and young adults. The participants were randomly selected to complete a battery of psychometrically validated instruments including the Internet Addiction Test, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and the Loneliness Scale. Structural equation modeling and Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine the relationship between Internet addiction and psychological impairments (depression, anxiety, stress and loneliness). Pearson correlation, path analysis, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), and t-tests were used to analyze the data. Results showed that Internet addiction is a predictor of stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Findings further indicated that addictive Internet use is gender sensitive and that the risk of Internet addiction is higher in males than in females. The results showed that male Internet addicts differed significantly from females in terms of depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness. The implications of these results are discussed.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adiele, I., & Olatokun, W. (2014). Prevalence and determinants of internet addiction among adolescents. Computers in Human Behavior, 31, 100–110.
Ahmadi, K., & Saghafi, A. (2013). Psychosocial profile of Iranian adolescents’ Internet addiction. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 16(7), 543–548.
Akin, A., & Iskender, M. (2011). Internet addiction and depression, anxiety and stress. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 3(1), 138–148.
Alavi, S. S., Eslami, M., Meracy, M. R., Najafi, M., Jannatifard, F., & Rezapour, H. (2010). Psychometric properties of Young internet addiction test. Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 4(3), 7–8.
Caplan, S. E., & High, A. C. (2007). Online social Interaction, psychosocial well-being, and problematic internet use. In K. S. Young & C. Nabuco de Abreu (Eds.), Internet Addiction (pp. 35–53): Chichester John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Christakis, D. A. (2010). Internet addiction: a 21st century epidemic? BMC Medicine, 8(1), 61.
Dehshiri, G. R., Borjali, A., Sheykhi, M., & Habibi, A. M. (2008). Development and validation of the Loneliness Scale among the university students. Journal of Psychology, 12, 282–296.
Ghamari, F., Mohammadbeigi, A., Mohammadsalehi, N., & Hashiani, A. A. (2011). Internet addiction and modeling its risk factors in medical students, iran. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 33(2), 158–162.
Greenfield, D. (2007). The addictive properties of internet usage. In K. S. Young & C. Nabuco de Abreu (Eds.), Internet addiction (pp. 133–153). Chichester: Wiley.
Ha, Y. M., & Hwang, W. J. (2014). Gender differences in internet addiction associated with psychological health indicators among adolescents using a national web-based survey. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 12(5), 660–669.
Hahn, C., & Kim, D.-J. (2014). Is there a shared neurobiology between aggression and Internet addiction disorder? Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 3(1), 12–20. doi:10.1556/JBA.3.2014.1.2.
Henry, J. D., & Crawford, J. R. (2005). The short-form version of the depression anxiety stress scales (DASS-21): construct validity and normative data in a large non-clinical sample. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 44(2), 227–239.
Hong, F. Y., Huang, D. H., Lin, H. Y., & Chiu, S. L. (2014). Analysis of the psychological traits, Facebook usage, and Facebook addiction model of Taiwanese university students. Telematics and Informatics, 31(4), 597–606.
Huang, A. C. W., Chen, H.-E., Wang, Y.-C., & Wang, L.-M. (2014). Internet abusers associate with a depressive state but not a depressive trait. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 68, 197–205.
Hwang, J. H., Choi, J.-S., Gwak, A. R., Jung, D., Choi, S.-W., Lee, J., Lee, J.-Y., Jung, H. Y., & Kim, D. J. (2014). Shared psychological characteristics that are linked to aggression between patients with Internet addiction and those with alcohol dependence. Annals of General Psychiatry, 13, 6. doi:10.1186/1744-859X-13-6.
Khazaal, Y., Billieux, J., Thorens, G., Khan, R., Louati, Y., Scarlatti, E., & Zullino, D. (2008). French validation of the internet addiction test. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 11, 703–706.
Ko, C. H., Yen, J. Y., Yen, C. F., Chen, C. S., & Chen, C. C. (2012). The association between internet addiction and psychiatric disorder: a review of the literature. European Psychiatry, 27(1), 1–8.
Kraut, R., Kiesler, S., Boneva, B., Cummings, J., Helgeson, V., & Crawford, A. (2002). Internet paradox revisited. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 49–74.
Kuss, D. J., Griffiths, M. D., Karila, L., & Billieux, J. (2014). Internet addiction: a systematic review of epidemiological research for the last decade. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 20, 4026–4052.
Lee, B. W., & Leeson, P. R. C. (2015). Online gaming in the context of social anxiety. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(2), 473–482.
Li, W., O’Brien, J. E., Snyder, S. M., & Howard, M. O. (2015). Characteristics of internet addiction/pathological internet use in U.S. University students: a qualitative-method investigation. PloS One, 10(2), e0117372.
Lovibond, P. F., & Lovibond, S. H. (1995). The structure of negative emotional states: comparison of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) with the Beck Depression and Anxiety Inventories. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33(3), 335–343.
Nastizai, N. (2009). The relationship between general health and internet addiction. Zahedan Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 11(1), 57–63.
Nie, N. H., Hillygus, D. S., & Erbring, L. (2002). Internet use, interpersonal relations, and sociability. In B. Wellman & C. Haythornthwaite (Eds.), The internet in everyday life (pp. 215–243). Oxford: Blackwell.
Öztürk, C., Bektas, M., Ayar, D., Öztornaci, B., & Dilek, Y. (2015). Association of personality traits and risk of internet addiction in adolescents. Asian Nursing Research, 9(2), 120–124.
Pontes, H., Kuss, D. J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2015). The clinical psychology of internet addiction: a review of its conceptualization, prevalence, neuronal processes, and implications for treatment. Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics, 4, 11–23.
Sahebi, A., Asghari, M. J., & Salari, R. (2005). Validation of depression, anxiety and stress (DASS-21) for Iranian population. Iranian Psychology, 1(4), 50–60.
Shapira, N. A., Lessig, M. C., Goldsmith, T. D., Szabo, S. T., Lazoritz, M., Gold, M. S., & Stein, D. J. (2003). Problematic internet use: proposed classification and diagnostic criteria. Depression and Anxiety, 17, 207–216.
Sharma, A., Sahu, R., Kasar, P. K., & Sharma, R. (2014). Internet addiction among professional courses students: a study from central India. International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 3(9), 1069–1073.
Smahel, D., Brown, B. B., & Blinka, L. (2012). Associations between online friendship and Internet addiction among adolescents and emerging adults. Developmental Psychology, 48(2), 381–388.
Stavropoulos, V., Alexandraki, K., & Motti-Stefanidi, F. (2013). Recognizing internet addiction: prevalence and relationship to academic achievement in adolescents enrolled in urban and rural Greek high schools. Journal of Adolescence, 36(3), 565–576.
Tang, J., Yu, Y., Du, Y., Ma, Y., Zhang, D., & Wang, J. (2014). Prevalence of internet addiction and its association with stressful life events and psychological symptoms among adolescent internet users. Addictive Behaviors, 39(3), 744–747.
Valkenburg, P. M., & Peter, J. (2007). Online communication and adolescent well-being: testing the stimulation versus the displacement hypothesis. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1169–1182.
Valkenburg, P. M., & Peter, J. (2011). Online communication among adolescents: an integrated model of its attraction, opportunities, and risks. Journal of Adolescent Health, 48(2), 121–127.
Wang, J., & Wang, H. (2011). The predictive effects of online communication on well-Being among Chinese adolescents. Psychology, 2, 359–362.
Weinstein, A., Dorani, D., Elhadif, R., Bukovza, Y., Yarmulnik, A., & Dannon, P. (2015). Internet addiction is associated with social anxiety in young adults. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 27(2), 2–7.
Widyanto, L., & McMurran, M. (2004). The psychometric properties of the internet addiction test. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 7, 443–450.
Widyanto, L., Griffiths, M. D., Brunsden, V., & McMurran, M. (2007). The psychometric properties of the internet related problem scale: a pilot study. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 6(2), 205–213.
Yadav, P., Banwari, G., Parmar, C., & Maniar, R. (2013). Internet addiction and its correlates among high school students: a preliminary study from Ahmedabad, India. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 6(6), 500–505.
Yao, M. Z., & Zhong, Z. J. (2014). Loneliness, social contacts and internet addiction: a cross-lagged panel study. Computers in Human Behavior, 30, 164–170.
Yen, J. Y., Ko, C. H., Yen, C. F., Chen, S. H., Chung, W. L., & Chen, C. C. (2008). Psychiatric symptoms in adolescents with Internet addiction: comparison with substance use. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 62(1), 9–16.
Young, K. (1998). Internet addiction: the emergence of a new clinical disorder. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 1, 237–244.
Young, K. S., & Rogers, R. C. (1998). The relationship between depression and Internet addiction. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 1, 25–28.
About this article
Cite this article
Ostovar, S., Allahyar, N., Aminpoor, H. et al. Internet Addiction and its Psychosocial Risks (Depression, Anxiety, Stress and Loneliness) among Iranian Adolescents and Young Adults: A Structural Equation Model in a Cross-Sectional Study. Int J Ment Health Addiction 14, 257–267 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-015-9628-0
- Internet addiction