Prevalence of Problematic Internet Use and its Association with Psychological Distress and Coping Strategies among Universiti Teknologi Mara Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:COVID-19, problematic Internet use, psychological distress, coping strategies, university students
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our day-to-day life and brings a serious impact on public mental health. Due to the practice of physical distancing, the Internet technology is being used to accommodate our daily interactions. In view of the increasing dependency towards this technology, its impact on our mental health well-being is indeterminate. This study aimed to examine the association between problematic Internet use, psychological distress, and the type of coping strategies used among Universiti Teknologi MARA students during this pandemic. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted using Internet Addiction Test, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, and Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced (COPE) Inventory. Data was analysed using SPSS version 26. Results: Of the 444 respondents, 32.2% were noted to have problematic Internet use with 61.3% reported psychological distress. Problematic Internet use was associated with higher level of psychological distress (OR = 1.04, 95% CI: 1.01 – 1.08), and the coping strategies of self-distraction (OR = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.04 – 1.47) and behavioural disengagement (OR = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.07 – 1.55). Conclusion: A high prevalence of psychological distress and its association with problematic Internet use and maladaptive coping among students during this pandemic was evident in this study. Hence, the findings from this study could help to provide insight on the state of the psychological well-being of students in higher education institutions as well as to assist the stakeholders in taking measures to help the students dealing with the pandemic.
How to Cite
All material submitted for publication is assumed to be submitted exclusively to the IIUM Medical Journal Malaysia (IMJM) unless the contrary is stated. Manuscript decisions are based on a double-blinded peer review process. The Editor retains the right to determine the style and if necessary, edit and shorten any material accepted for publication.
IMJM retain copyright to all the articles published in the journal. All final ‘proof’ submissions must be accompanied by a completed Copyright Assignment Form, duly signed by all authors. The author(s) or copyright owner(s) irrevocably grant(s) to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate the research article in its entirety or in part, in any format or medium, provided that no substantive errors are introduced in the process, proper attribution of authorship and correct citation details are given, and that the bibliographic details are not changed. If the article is reproduced or disseminated in part, this must be clearly and unequivocally indicated.