Associations between problematic Internet use and psychiatric symptoms among university students in Japan

Momoko Kitazawa, Michitaka Yoshimura, Mayu Murata, Yuka Sato-Fujimoto, Hidefumi Hitokoto, Masaru Mimura, Kazuo Tsubota, Taishiro Kishimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Research on the adverse effects of Internet use has gained importance recently. However, there is currently insufficient data on Japanese young adults' Internet use, so we conducted a survey targeting Japanese university students to research problematic Internet use (PIU). We also investigated the relationship between PIU and multiple psychiatric symptoms. Methods: A paper-based survey was conducted at five universities in Japan. Respondents were asked to fill out self-report scales regarding their Internet dependency using the Internet Addiction Test (IAT). Sleep quality, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tendency, depression, and anxiety symptom data were also collected based on respective self-reports. Results: There were 1336 responses and 1258 were included in the analysis. The mean IAT score (±SD) was 37.87±12.59; and 38.2% of participants were classified as PIU, and 61.8% as non-PIU. The trend level for young women showed that they were more likely to be classified as PIU than young men (40.6% and 35.2% respectively, P=0.05). Compared to the non-PIU group, the PIU group used the Internet longer (P<0.001), had significantly lower sleep quality (P<0.001), had stronger ADHD tendencies (P<0.001), had higher Depression scores (P<0.001), and had higher Trait-Anxiety scores (P<0.001). Based on multiple logistic regression analyses, the factors that contributed to an increased risk of PIU were: being female (odds ratio [OR]=1.52), being older (OR=1.17), having poor sleep quality (OR=1.52), having ADHD tendencies (OR=2.70), having depression (OR=2.24), and having anxiety tendencies (OR=1.43). Conclusion: We found a high PIU prevalence among Japanese young adults. The factors that predicted PIU were: female sex, older age, poor sleep quality, ADHD tendencies, depression, and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1



  • Anxiety
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Depression
  • Problematic Internet use
  • Sleep disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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