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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 143-154  

Parenting style and personality correlates of internet addiction: A cross-sectional study


Department of Psychiatry, Dr. D Y Patil Medical College, Dr. D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission29-Nov-2019
Date of Decision08-May-2020
Date of Acceptance27-May-2020
Date of Web Publication12-Feb-2021

Correspondence Address:
Suprakash Chaudhury
Department of Psychiatry, Dr. D Y Patil Medical College, Dr. D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pimpri, Pune - 411 018, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_329_19

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  Abstract 


Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of Internet addiction (IA) and its correlation with personality traits and perceived parenting styles in college-going students. Materials and Methods: The current cross-sectional study was done at a medical college in a semi-urban area near Pune. A total of 623 university students were included in the study with their consent. They completed a questionnaire assessing sociodemographic background and Internet usage pattern, Young's IA scale to assess IA, the Big Five Inventory for assessing personality traits, and Short-Form Egna Minnenav Barndoms Uppfostran (My Memories of Upbringing) scale for measuring perceived parenting styles. Results: The prevalence of IA in medical students was 56.81% (mild IA: 49.59%, moderate IA: 7.22%). Neuroticism showed a significant positive correlation with IA, whereas extroversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness showed a significant negative correlation. In perceived parenting styles, rejection and overprotection had a significant positive relation and emotional warmth had a significant negative relation with IA. Conclusion: Neuroticism, rejection, and overprotection by parents were positively associated with IA. Personality traits of extroversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional warmth by parents were negatively associated with IA.

Keywords: Addiction, extroversion, medical students, neuroticism, parenting, prevalence


How to cite this article:
Shivam S, Chaudhari B, Chaudhury S, Saldanha D. Parenting style and personality correlates of internet addiction: A cross-sectional study. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2021;14:143-54

How to cite this URL:
Shivam S, Chaudhari B, Chaudhury S, Saldanha D. Parenting style and personality correlates of internet addiction: A cross-sectional study. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Apr 13];14:143-54. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/text.asp?2021/14/2/143/309183




  Introduction Top


The Internet, which is widely used globally, has both positive and negative influences on human life. Since coming into existence in the 1960s, the Internet has now become the backbone of modern society. The use of the Internet is rapidly increasing, with technology becoming cheaper and accessible. Even low- and middle-income countries are showing a significant rise in Internet users. India has had an exponential rise in Internet users over the last decade, with four hundred million (36.5% of the population) active Internet users.[1] An increase in the use of the Internet and reliance on it for work, study, and leisure activity has led to its constant presence in life. Due to the fundamental nature of the Internet being a tool for work, it is harder to form boundaries between functional and dysfunctional uses. Dysfunctional use of the Internet may end up becoming “Internet addiction (IA)” defined as “An individual's inability to control his or her own use of Internet causing disturbances and impairment in fulfillment of work, social and personal commitments; and … shares similarities with other categories of behavioral addictions and substance use”.[2] Addiction to the Internet may lead to a loss in productivity, health, and interrelation problems.[3],[4] College-going students may lose essential time with pathological Internet use and experience a steady decline in academic and social performance leading to occupational incompetence.[5],[6]

Personality not only defines the individuals' behavioral style but also represents the relatively enduring characteristics of individuals, and it refers to all aspects of individuality. Human activities and types of behavior are consistent with specific traits of personality. The research literature on personality factors and Internet usage has been growing.[7],[8],[9] As personality remains consistent over the life span and different situations, it is found to influence the propensity to behavior addictions.[10],[11],[12] In recent years, the use of the Internet has expanded to individuals from every walk of life. Since the usage pattern of the Internet is very discrete, personality might be playing a key role in predisposing individuals to this behavioral addiction. The Big Five model is regarded by general consensus as a unified framework for personality trait.[13],[14] Structure and integrity of the Big Five construct of personality has been verified by many studies in different settings.[15],[16] This led us to choose this model for our study.

Psychosocial development and development of personality depend on a certain element of family life which includes parenting style and attitude of parents toward children. In the debate of nature versus nurture despite a conflict, everyone agrees that the family environment plays a major role in the development of an individual. Conflicts among family members, broken homes, and overindulgence by parents have been associated with various addictions and adverse psychosocial outcomes of individuals in the future.[17] Behavioral addiction such as IA may be a manifestation of individuals, in whom the attitude of their parents and familial environment acts as a predisposing factor.[18] As most of our study sample stay away from home, we measured the perception of parenting among them. Unavailability of any research study in India comparing personality traits and parenting rearing style led us to undertake this research work to assess parenting styles and personality correlates of IA.


  Materials and Methods Top


This cross-sectional analytical study was conducted in a medical college in a semi-urban area of Maharashtra during the period September 2017 to September 2019. Dr. DY Patil Medical College Ethics Committee clearance was obtained (letter no. DPU/R&R (M)/31/(83)/2018 dated January 12, 2018) before the start of the study. Ethical principles were clearly explained to the participants, especially voluntary nature of their participation and option of withdrawal from the study at any time. Following this, informed consent was taken.

Sample

Medical students both undergraduate and postgraduate fulfilling the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the study were selected by purposive sampling.

Inclusion criteria

Students who had been using the Internet for at least 6 months before the study and who gave consent to the study were included.

Exclusion criteria

Students not using the Internet were excluded.

Sample size calculation

In the community-based studies, 10%–20% allowable error is accepted.

Formula used in calculating sample size is:

n = (4pq)/(L2).

where P is previous prevalence which is P = 15%

L = allowable error = 20% = 20% of prevalence = 20% of 15 = 3

q = 1 − P = 1–0.15 = 0.85.

n = 4 × 0.85 × 0.15/0.03 × 0.03 = 567–600.

Tools used

Questionnaire about demographic details and Internet use

Information about age, sex, parents' education, Internet connection and speed, usage of social media, E-mail, online gaming, and music and video streaming was obtained.

Internet addiction test

Internet addiction test (IAT) is a self-rated scale developed for measuring the level of IA and has been used extensively for this purpose. It contains 20 questions to be scored on a Likert scale from 1 (rarely) to 5 (always). A total score of <20 represents normal user, between 20 and 49 represents mild addiction, between 50 and 79 represents moderate addiction, and between 80 and 100 represents severe addiction.[19] The IAT had a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.91. The internal consistency score for the first, second, third, or fourth factor was 0.76, 0.74, 0.69, or 0.63, respectively. An exploratory factor analysis with 256 university students showed four factors with eigenvalues more than 1. These four factors explained 56.5% of the total variance.[20]

The Big Five Inventory

This 44-item measure yields a score for each of the Big Five personality factors. Each item consists of a short statement, and respondents are required to rate the degree to which they agree with each statement on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = “strongly disagree” to 5 = “strongly agree”). It provides reliable and valid data.[21],[22],[23],[24] Cronbach's alpha of the Big Five Inventory factors ranged from 0.65 to 0.81 (Mdn = 0.79). The factor analyses identified the five factors associated with the FFM.[24]

Short-Form Egna Minnenav Barndoms Uppfostran (My Memories of Upbringing)

This Swedish self-report scale assesses one's memory of parental rearing and consists of four replicable dimensions: rejection, emotional warmth, overprotection, and favoritism. Responses are rated on a 4-point Likert scale (0 never; 4 always).[25]

Internal consistency reliability coefficients (Cronbach's alpha) were all above 0.70. Using the multiple group method, structure matrix and sum of squared factor loadings for each factor by nation were calculated. The strength of each factor exceeded the minimum required value of (1/23) × 100% or 4.35. The factors of the scale had factor strengths that were highly comparable across national samples. Thus, the Short-Form Egna Minnenav Barndoms Uppfostran measuring constructs had cross-national factorial invariance.[26]

Methodology

Medical students from 2nd, 3rd, and 4th academic years, interns, and postgraduate students were enrolled for the study. A required number of participants were selected by purposive sampling method from each year of study so that each academic year would have similar representation in the study sample. Written informed consent was taken from each participant, assuring them anonymity of the study to avoid reporting bias. A questionnaire was distributed before the lecture with proper instructions to undergraduate students and during posting hours to interns and postgraduate students. It took 15 min on average to complete the questionnaire. Scoring of the different scales was done manually as per the test manual.

Statistical analysis

The data were analyzed by SPSS software (SPSS, IBM, Chicago, USA). Descriptive statistics were presented in the form of mean, standard deviation, percentage, etc., In inferential statistics, the analysis was done using nonparametric tests, Chi-square test, Spearman's rho test, Kruskal–Wallis test, and Mann–Whitney U-test at 5% significance. A hierarchical linear regression model was constructed. In this model, IA scores were used as the dependent variable. Age, gender, Internet use frequency, and duration, the personality variables (i.e., extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness), and parenting styles (rejection, warmth, and overprotectiveness) were entered into the model as predictors.


  Results Top


A total of 840 participants were included, of which 623 completed the given questionnaire. The sociodemographic characteristics of the students are shown in [Table 1]. Of all the students, maximum representation was from 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-year MBBS students, whereas the completed survey returned by the students doing internship and postgraduate studies was less in comparison. As the reach of the Internet is growing day by day in our society, the age at which the Internet first used is decreasing day by day. Our data show maximum number of students started using the Internet by the age of 13, but the trend is going toward a lower age [Figure 1]. The characteristics of Internet use are given in [Table 2]. Majority of the students use their mobile phones to access the Internet, mainly in their rooms, use high-speed Internet, for 1–2 h daily. The usage pattern of the Internet and comparison of usage pattern by gender is given in [Table 3]. Using the IAT, the prevalence of IA in our population was 56.81%, of which 49.59% had mild IA whereas 7.22% of the students had moderate IA. No case of severe IA was detected in the current study [Table 4].
Table 1: Demographic characteristics of medical students (n=623) included in the study

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Figure 1: Age at which Internet use started

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Table 2: Characteristics of Internet use in medical students (n=623)

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Table 3: Usage pattern of Internet among medical students

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Table 4: Prevalence of Internet addiction

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Association of IA with personality factors and domain of perceived parenting style

Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness score of students without IA was significantly higher than students with mild IA, and students with mild IA had significantly higher scores than moderate IA [Table 5]. A strong and statistically significant, negative correlation between conscientiousness and IA was observed (rs(8) = −0.484, P < 0.001) [Table 6].
Table 5: Comparison of students with mild, moderate, and no Internet addiction on score on Big Five personality factors and Short--Form Egna Minnenav Barndoms Uppfostran

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Table 6: Summary of bivariate correlations among key measures

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Agreeableness

Agreeableness score of students without IA was significantly higher than students with mild IA, and students with mild IA had significantly higher scores than moderate IA [Table 5]. A strong and statistically significant, negative correlation between agreeableness and IA was observed (Spearman's rho = −0.604, P < 0.001) [Table 6].

Extraversion

Extraversion score of students without IA was significantly higher than students with mild IA, and students with mild IA had significantly higher scores than moderate IA [Table 5]. A strong and statistically significant, negative correlation between extraversion and IA was observed (Spearman's rho = −0.627, P < 0.001) [Table 6].

Neuroticism

Neuroticism score of students without IA was significantly lower than students with mild IA, and students with mild IA had significantly lower scores than moderate IA [Table 5]. A strong and statistically significant, positive correlation between neuroticism and IA was observed (Spearman's rho = 0.752, P < 0.001) [Table 6].

Openness to experience

Openness to experience score of students without IA was significantly higher than students with mild IA, and students with mild IA had significantly higher scores than moderate IA [Table 5]. A strong and statistically significant, negative correlation between openness and IA was observed (Spearman's rho = −0.526, P < 0.001).

Rejection

Rejection score of students without IA was significantly lower than students with mild IA, and students with mild IA had significantly lower scores than moderate IA [Table 5]. A statistically significant, positive correlation between rejection and IA was observed (Spearman's rho = 0.558, P < 0.001) [Table 6].

Emotional warmth

Emotional warmth score of students without IA was significantly higher than students with mild IA, and students with mild IA had significantly higher scores than moderate IA [Table 5]. A statistically significant, negative correlation between emotional warmth and IA was observed (Spearman's rho = −0.588, P < 0.001) [Table 6].

Overprotection

Overprotection score of students without IA was significantly lower than students with mild IA, and students with mild IA had significantly lower scores than moderate IA [Table 5]. A statistically significant, positive correlation between overprotection and IA was observed (Spearman's rho = 0.520, P < 0.001) [Table 6].

Summary of hierarchical regression model

In the model summary table [Table 7], the multiple regression coefficient “R” measures the standard of the prediction of the dependent variable, i.e., IA. A value of 0.800, within the present study, indicates a good level of prediction. The coefficient of determination or “R Square” in our study was 0.639 which means that our independent variables explain 63.9% of the variability of our dependent variable. The analysis of variance table [Table 8] indicates that within the present study, the independent variables statistically significantly predict the dependent variable (IA), F (12, 610) = 35.875, P < 0.0005 (i.e., the regression model may be a good fit of the data). Unstandardized coefficients indicate what proportion of the dependent variable varies with an independent variable when all other independent variables are held constant. Consider the effect of age in the present study. The unstandardized coefficient, B1, for age is − 0.088 [Table 9]. This indicates that for each 1-year increase in age, there is a decrease in IAT score of 0.088. A multiple regression was run to predict IA from gender, age, duration of Internet use, number of times the Internet is accessed, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness, rejection, warmth, and overprotection. These variables statistically significantly predicted IA, F (12, 610) = 35.875, P < 0.0005, R2 = 0.639. Six variables (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, openness, and rejection) added statistically significantly to the prediction, P < 0.05.
Table 7: Model summary

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Table 8: ANOVAa

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Table 9: Coefficientsa

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  Discussion Top


The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and determinants of IA in vulnerable young medical students of a medical college in a semi-urban area of western Maharashtra. Of 840 questionnaires that were distributed, 623 questionnaires were returned in a fully completed form. The response rate was 74.17% which can be considered good, bearing in mind the fact that participation in the study was voluntary and no incentives were given to study participants.

Of the total study sample, 38.5% were males and 61.5% were females. This was above the national ratio of male to female medical students, with the female being 51.6%, according to a survey conducted in the year 2016 which probably reflects the admission pattern of the medical institution.[27] However, both male and female groups were comparable in other aspects.

The majority of participants in the current survey were from urban areas and were well versed in new-age technologies related to Internet use. Most of the students were staying in hostel accommodation with free Wi-Fi. Therefore, most of the study participants had free and easy access to the Internet.

The parents of most of the students were educated, and hence, it can be assumed that most of the students had an environment encouraging the use of new-age technologies which has been appropriately reflected in our study sample where the maximum number of students have started using the Internet in their adolescence by the age of 13 years.

Technological advancements have made the whole world available in the palm of our hands. With mobile phones as efficient as a personal computer, it is slowly becoming the primary instrument to connect to the Internet. The smartphone is the new Swiss Army knife, from being available all the time and to be able to take calls, text, and many versatile usages, which makes them more than normal computers. Of the total participants in our study, 71.7% of the students were using their mobile to access the Internet which is far more than a laptop or desktop PC.

Especially in the context of India, cheaper mobile data over the past few years made a sizeable amount of people shifting to the mobile Internet connection. In 2014, the cost of one GB of mobile data was ₹270. Now, it is ₹10 per GB.[28] As a result, mobile data consumption has soared over the last few years. In our study, we found twice the number of mobile Internet users, as compared to the broadband Internet user. This can be explained by the free Wi-Fi connection provided by the college.

Students spend most of the time at the college campus, but our finding indicated that most of them are online from hostel room, probably using the Internet in their spare time. Usage at day and night was almost similar, making the evening as the most connected time of day in our population. Two-thirds of our sample were using the Internet on their mobile phone at home and college. A similar kind of result was observed by Chacko et al.[29]

A constant sum of money from monthly expenses was spent on Internet subscriptions, as the Internet is cheaper than ever before.[30] In the study, we observed that the majority were spending around 300 rupees a month on the Internet, with few students spending more than 600 rupees a month.

The speed of connection to the Internet is becoming constant and well above one Mbps in almost all locations in India.[31] Almost all the students included in the study had a high-speed Internet connection which indicates that slow speed is days of past.

The importance of the Internet has increased substantially in people's life. Almost everyone at least checks for an update on social media and depends on news feeds for daily news. This ever-increasing need of the Internet in our lives has created new challenges to societies worldwide. The problematic use of the Internet or IA per se measured by the criteria used was high in our study population. More than half of them (56.8%) fulfilled the criteria for IA. Many studies have reported a wide range of IA among a similar study population varying from 0.3% to 38% of participants.[32] In a Taiwanese study, 17.9% of students had IA,[33] whereas in Iran, the prevalence of IA in medical students was 10.8%.[34] In our study, none of the students reported severe IA, but previously, there have been studies that found severe addiction in their study population. An Iranian study found that 2.8% of their study population of medical students had severe IA.[34] The differences among these results may be due to variation in sample size, the methodology of the study, variation in the population, society and culture as well as time period of study.

The normal span of web utilization is the predominant variable influencing motivation behind Internet use. Studies have shown that short duration of Internet use by students is for homework, whereas engagement of longer duration indicates social media activities.[35] The maximum usage time of the Internet was between 2 and 4 h in this study, and most of the users were using the Internet for things apart from academics. All the participants were from medical colleges, and the involvement of technology has not penetrated this field compared to other science-related streams. Medical education still relies hugely on books and clinical experience. Apart from researching the valuable resources not available in the college, the Internet does not play a major role for medical students. Research is not so prevalent in undergraduate students, who were the major participant in our study, and most of them were using the Internet as a recreational tool.

One of the important purposes of Internet use in our population was online gaming. In the context of Internet “online gaming,” the trend of Western society is now seeping into our culture too. Online multiplayer games are overtaking conventional console games that existed before.[36] In the present study, 66% of the students were indulging in online gaming activity which consumed most of their time online. A similar finding was also observed in Iranian medical students, with 45.84% playing online games. This indulgence in online gaming may also affect the degree of Internet use by its users. This study showed that 8.5% of the population with IA had a predominance of online gaming as a major activity online. It was lower than that of a Hong Kong-based study in which 15.6% of IAs were gamers.[37] This difference in values of game addicts and IA may be due to cultural differences as well as the study population.

In the present study, another important purpose for Internet use was music and video streaming which was much more consumed than games. Tons of video and audio streaming services exist today that make it easy to access and stream videos and music anywhere, anytime. Many users get most of their content streamed directly to their portable devices from the cloud. Almost three-fourth of our study population used some form of streaming media service. These findings related to this purpose of Internet use are changing in different studies as streaming is becoming cheaper, faster, and easier day by day.[38]

Social networking has been found to be another important purpose of Internet use in our study. Millennials access various social networking sites in a day, such as Twitter, Snap Chat, Facebook, and Instagram.[39] Almost 90% of 18–29 years old regularly use social media sites.

Majority of people use multiple social media whenever they access the Internet.[40] As individuals are increasingly being occupied with modern stressful life, the use of social media acts as an easy way to be in touch with loved once without too much effort.[41] The reporting of similar finding around the world indicates that trends of the Internet are similar among students globally. There was no association of IA with gender in our study. However, usage pattern indicates that males use more online games, social media, and E-mail whereas females stream more amount of video and music.

The pattern of Internet use is very similar to our social behavior. Personality influences behavior, and behavioral patterns reflect personality. Personality is a combination of emotional characteristics, attitudes, and behavior of an individual. The rapid use of the Internet has, in turn, shed some light on examining how personality traits impact the use of technologies, particularly social networking, games, and so on. Assessment of personality traits based on the Big Five model of personality showed that agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness to experience had a negative relation with IA. Students having a low score on these traits were more likely to engage in frequent Internet use.

Individuals with the high amount of extraversion trait tend to spend their discretionary time in social engagements or activities which are not related to Internet use; they tend to engage in more human-to-human interaction than being alone or on computers.[42] This indirectly hinders them from IA. Extraverted individuals establish close and satisfying relationships in real life, lessening the tendency to do the same online.[43] IA in extraverted individuals may be at relatively lower rates explaining negative relation obtained in study and supported by many researches in literature.[44],[45] Those with low extraversion trait have more free time and less social relationships in real life. As a result they are attracted to the Internet where they can focus their attention and remain alone.

Agreeableness in an individual makes them seek out group-related activities, investing more time in interpersonal relationships, thus making less time available for Internet use as compared to those having a low score in agreeableness. Those with a low score on agreeableness traits are prone to show hostile and aggressive behavior and may prefer to show this behavior online as these kinds of behavior may have negative consequences in real life.[15] This factor may make some individuals with a low level of agreeableness prone to IA as confirmed in this study as well as supported by other studies in the literature.[46],[47],[48]

Conscientiousness is a personality trait indicating the degree to which people are responsible and dependable. Students with high score in conscientiousness tend to be reliable, organized, rule-following, and good self-regulators. It has been argued that the wide-open, unstructured environment of the Internet may not make it appealing to those with a high level of conscientiousness trait.[49] In student group, it may be that those with this trait are more engaged in participating in academic activities. They may still access the Internet for nonleisure purposes.

Individuals with openness to new experiences are imaginative, curious, and open-minded having a high level of curiosity.[15] The significant negative relation of openness with IA in this study may be attributed to the fact that though real and virtual life setting provides attractive opportunities to satisfy interest and curiosity to these individuals, virtual environment of the Internet does not provide realistic and live experience. Some studies indicate a positive relation between openness and IA[43],[50] as well as no relation between them.[44],[46],[51] Further research is required with the specification of experience on both virtual and real levels.

A significant positive relation between neuroticism and IA was observed in this study. Those with this trait have high-level experience of anxiety and worry. Due to these inherent traits, they may refrain from face-to-face communication and avoid social situations, having a self-doubting attitude and underdeveloped self-awareness. This may lead them to find solace on the Internet as it avoids face-to-face communication, and the individual can be anonymous on the web. Similar findings are observed in various other studies.[43],[52],[53]

The formation of one's identity and personality is highly impacted by the relationship between a child and a parent.[54] Growing up with problematic and dysfunctional parenting, internalization and continuity of values become problematic increasing risks of psychopathology.[55] Indiscipline, violence, and low level of monitoring among families may make a way for problematic behaviors such as substance abuse, risk-taking behavior, and IA. Parenting styles are one of the major determinants in nurturing behavior.[56]

When comparatively less amount of care, affection, comfort, support, or just love is received by a person from their parents and other caregivers, they feel rejected. Parental rejection is usually associated with various psychological and physically hurtful behaviors and negativity.[52] We found that parental rejection was a risk factor for overuse of the Internet as it was positively related to IA.

Rejection by parents makes individuals internalize a more hostile view of the world. This is because impaired self-recognition[52] and low self-identity may finally end up creating low self-esteem.[57] Parental rejection may induce poor interpersonal problem solving which, in turn, leads them to be an object of discrimination. This could lead to a social deficit. To avoid social interaction, the individual turns to the Internet to fulfill the need for communication.

Exorbitant stress over children's well-being sometimes hinders the developmental needs. By not allowing a child to explore his or her interest, with equal opportunity of risk and responsibility, they may resist a parent's protection and find their opportunity to test their limit. The Internet provides a relatively easy and safe mean for this escape. Overprotection is a measure of this tendency and in this study showed a significant positive relation with IA.

Committed parents having a warm and equally assertive parenting style form a support system. They are responsible for the need of their children but protect the child from IA. This is supported by the fact that a strong negative association was observed between parents showing emotional warmth and IA.. Similar findings were reported in another study from China.[58]

Limitation

All the data acquired in this study are self-reported, and no clinical interview was done on the student to diagnose IA. Being a cross-sectional analysis, the cause-and-effect relation between associated factors could not be established. An observational longitudinal study could have given more information. However, the analysis of personalities is reasonable due to the stability of personalities over life. In this study, we asked for perceived parenting styles that are students describing their parents which may include biases further limiting our result as discrepancies may occur between individuals and parents on self-reports of parenting styles.


  Conclusion Top


The prevalence of some grade of IA in medical students was 56.81%, though no one had severe IA. There was no association of IA with gender. Usage pattern indicated that males use more online games, social media, and E-mail, whereas females stream more of video and music. Personality traits of extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness had a significantly negative relationship with IA, whereas neuroticism had a positive relation. This implies that students who were more engaged in social and academic activity, friendlier, more industrious, and who tended to seek new opportunities had less chance of being addicted to the Internet. On the other hand, students who were anxious and worried, introverted, and less rule-bound tend to have a high chance of IA. Further, students with emotionally understanding parents, who gave an equal opportunity of freedom to them, made them less prone to IA.

Future directions

Further research is needed to verify, clarify, and extend the present results, especially in different settings and populations, to generalize the above finding concerning other age groups and sociodemographic profile. Any intervention and development of programs for the prevention and treatment of IA cannot be complete without considering personality traits and the role of parenting. Knowing personalities associated with excessive Internet usage may help in personalizing therapies for particular personalities. Major importance should be given for awareness of IA among students and faculties to detect an earlier sign of IA and reduce the risk of it becoming pathological. The role of parenting style may give clues to formulate and educate future parents and caregivers on how to connect with their children and make them less prone to IA.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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