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Attached To The Web — Harmful Use Of The Internet And Its Correlates

J. Korkeila, S. Kaarlas, M. Jääskeläinen, T. Vahlberg, T. Taiminen

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AbstractBackground and aimsThe aim of this study was to test the validity of the Finnish version of the Internet Addiction Test and the correlates of harmful use of the Internet.MethodsOne thousand eight hundred and twenty-five students (45.5% men and 54.5% women, mean age 24.7 years, S.D. = 5.7) filled in a web-based questionnaire including IAT, reasons for use of the Internet, distress, social support, and substance use.ResultsMen had a statistically significantly higher mean score on the IAT than women. Subjects with self-reported use of cannabis had higher mean score on the IAT compared to non-users (39.5 [11.3] vs 35.8 [10.8]). The total IAT score was associated with “adult entertainment” (OR = 1.07, 95%CI: 1.06–1.08, P < 0.001), “playing games” (OR = 1.05, 95%CI: 1.04–1.06, P < 0.001), “chatting” (OR = 1.07, 95%CI: 1.06–1.08, P < 0.001) and “discussion” (OR = 1.08, 95%CI: 1.07–1.09, P < 0.001) as reasons for Internet use. The IAT score had a significant negative correlation with social support (r = −0.24, P < 0.001) and a significant positive correlation with the CAGE score (r = 0.18, P < 0.001). Using factor analysis, we found a single factor solution with a Cronbach's α of 0.92.ConclusionsThe IAT seems to provide a valid measurement of harmful use of the Internet, as the score was significantly associated with variables tapping psychopathology.