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Int. j. econ. manag. soc. sci., Vol(3), No (12), December, 2014. pp.


TI Journals

International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences


Copyright 2014. All rights reserved for TI Journals.

Comparison of Addicted and Non-addicted University Students in

Loneliness and Mental Health
Farid Abbasi *
Clinical psychology, Medical Science University of Kermanshah, Office of Student Services, Iran.

Karim Afsharinia
Psychology group, literature and human sciences college, Islamic Azad University of Kermanshah, Iran.
*Corresponding author:



Internet addiction
Mental health

Purpose: This study aims to investigate the loneliness and mental health in students of Kermanshah Azad
Method & materials: This research is an ex post facto study. The statistical society included 300
Kermanshah Azad university students who were selected randomly and respond to 3 scales: Internet
Addiction Test (IAT;Young,1998) , UCLA Loneliness Scale (Russll,1996) and General Health
Questionnaire (GHQ-28;Goldberg&Hiller,1979) . From 202 internet users, 20 internet addicts (IA) were
recognized. Using the demographics, 20 moderate users (MU) were matched with the IA. Data was analyzed
using t-test.
Findings: Results showed no significant difference between the two groups in loneliness (P>0/05) . There
were significant differences between the two groups in mental health (P<0/01) .
Conclusions: the subscales analysis of mental health tests showed IA significantly more inappropriate in
somatic symptoms, anxiety and depression than the MU.



ICT in a short time has become one of the essential components that constitute modern societies. The role of the Internet as a powerful
information source of a wide range of Information networks in all fields cannot be ignored. With the advent of the Internet and expand its scope
to worldwide, this technology was provided solely by research centers in 1991, it found out new applications and a wide variety. With the
popularity of Internet, the problem of excessive and pathological use of this technology attract more attention of psychologists and the
prevalence of Internet addiction and its relationship with personality variables studied in different countries.
Internet is available easily during day and night and using it can provide your communication with others in safe place. The Internet and its
many charming uses have made an appearance of a phenomenon known virtual addiction or addiction to the Internet in recent years, and various
aspects of it attract the attention of psychologists.
The excessive use of Internet technology was introduced first in history reports, stating that too much application of it makes challenges in some
instances, and is affected by social, psychological and occupational damages, respectively. Psychologists seek to clear this problem, some
leading researchers such as Brenner (1997) Young (1997) Sought to answer the question that whether a problem called using Internet is
problematic in the scientific aspects or not. Features like symptoms of addiction, ie, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms and feel compelled to use
Internet in some users led researchers adapted the criteria for Internet addiction as fourth DSM-IV criteria but soon some researchers (including
Young, 1998; Armstrong, Phillips and Sling, 2000; Shapiro et al., 2003) concluded that Internet addiction is an impulse disorder and they
formulated a criteria based on the most similar impulse control to Internet addiction, that is pathological gambling.
Young (1998) examine a pilot study to find whether Internet addiction is real criteria or not for diagnosis of gambling in regard to tolerance,
withdrawal and feelings of compulsion. Young during the research and following graduate studies of 691 volunteers participated in the study
finds out 100 persons without addiction and 396 internet addicts were identified. Young observed tolerance, i.e. increasing amount of time on the
Internet addicts and concluded that Internet addiction is really existed. About a decade, using common or actualized questionnaires in this area
has been used in different countries in order to assess the prevalence of Internet addiction and its consequences and effects. In Asia, Taiwan
(Ying Tung, 2004) Korea (Wang, Li and Cheng, 2002) India (Nelva and Anand, 2003) Hong Kong (Chek and Leung, 2004) has been done a
research on Internet addiction. In Iran, although articles about Internet addiction has been published in various publications (for example, Azizi,
2002, Firoz Bakht, 2001) but research has often not focused solely on the issue. However, with the exception the study has been done by
Qasemzadeh and et al (2007) which was subsequently results will be examined. By taking considering this issue that a few years the Internet has
entered Iran, especially with young people has its place, it seems to be a phenomenon of Internet addiction in Iranian community, to be
monitored closely from various angles. One of variables related to Internet addiction has been investigated in several studies is loneness.
Published the results of a longitudinal study frequently, Patterson, Lundmark, Keesler, Makodpadiay and Sherlis (1998) indicates that using
Internet can lead to depression and loneliness, a landmark in this field. The researchers said their finding concluded that although the Internet is
one of the important uses less rich than face relation, using the Internet makes people alone. Another study in America (Morahan Martin and
Schumacher, 2000) India (Nelva and Anand, 2003) Korea (Wang et al., 2003) shown Internet addicts are lonelier than non-addicts. Qasemzadeh
and et all (2007) performed an investigation in this case and concluded that individual differences were not statistically significant between the
students girls are addicted and non-addicted. Mental health and related component to it is another variable has been investigated its relation to
Internet addiction .Shapiro et al (2000) in a study on 20 patients showed that these people experiences the symptoms of bipolar disorder based on
DSM criteria of mental disorders.. Shepard and Edleman (2005) also concluded that addicted to Internet compared to moderate users
experienced higher social anxiety status. Davis (2001) has designed a cognitive-behavioral model of pathological use of Internet and showed that
Internet addiction have more disadvantages in mental health indicators such as the level of tolerance and withdrawal, compared with ordinary
people. Kaplan (2002) also in a study of 386 students concluded that Internet addicts gained more scores in some variables such as depression,
self-esteem, loneliness and shame compared with ordinary people. According to the research background, this study aims to compare loneliness
and mental health in Internet addicted students and non-addicted in Kermanshah Azad University.

Farid Abbasi *, Karim Afsharinia


International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(3), No (12), December, 2014.



The sample and Methods

The study population included 330 male students from the Kermanshah Azad University in the year 2008-2009 that were selected randomly
from the list of names among 6 different fields. After an explanation about the purpose of research and insisting on the anonymity the Youngs
Internet addicts questionnaires were distributed among them and after collecting and analysis of data from 202 Internet users, about 20 of them
were detected as Internet addicts based on Youngs Internet addicts questionnaires. Then another 20 users were matched with the addicted group
on the basis of characteristics such as age, socioeconomic status and prior physical and psychiatric illness history and found they are not internet
addicts on the basis of a Youngs questionnaire so they has been recruited as a comparison group. Thus, 40 were selected as original sample.
This study is a retrospective descriptive method. To test the hypothesis, an independent t-test has been used.
Research Tools
Young's Internet Addiction Test (IAT) : In this study, the form of 23 questions of Young's Internet Addiction Test was used (IAT, 1998) . In this
case the reader must answer each of the 23 questions based on Lickert scale of six degrees; 0 ("never") 1 ("rarely ") , 2 ("sometimes") ,3
("normally") , , 4 ("often") ,5 ("always") .The test scores range is 0-100, the higher score indicates a greater dependence on the Internet and more
severe difficulties which arise as a result of excessive use of the Internet for a person. To evaluate the results the Youngs instruction was used,
which means that 0 to 39 represents a typical user, score 40 -69 users at risk and 70-100 the user is addicted to internet.
The IAT performance in Sweden, after the removal of seven questions obtained 0.95 alpha croanbach (Angelberg,Souberg2004) . In Korea, the
two researches have done (Yu et al., 2004; Kim et all2005) the Alpha croanbach was more than 0.90 , and in another study, (Young Chou, Beeti,
Lee and Cho, 2005) test-retest coefficient obtained after two weeks as 0.85 Wang et all (2003) obtained alpha croanbach as 0.90 after removing
the question ( often) (because the Korean tend to neutral respond) . Qasem zadeh et al (2007) obtained the reliability of this test by using alpha
croanbach 0.883 in Iran.
Loneliness Scale (UCLA) : To assess the Loneliness , the UCLA scale (Russell 1998) was used that is known scale, and has become almost a
standard scale in this area. This scale has 20 questions that readers have responded any questions on a 4 points of Lickert scale consisting never
(1) , rarely (2) , sometimes (3) often (4) . The test scores range was from 20 to 80, with higher scores indicating lonelier. The scale was
conducted in the four groups of students, nurses, teachers and the elderly, as different methods including self-report and interview with an alpha
range as 0.89-0.94. Qasemzadeh et all (2007) obtained the reliability of this scale as Cronbach's alpha 0.89.
GHQ (general health questionnaire) : This questionnaire was designed by Goldberg and Hiller in 1979 with 28 Questions and 4 scales that each
scale has 9 items. Subscales include somatic symptoms, anxiety, failure in social interaction, and depression (Delavar and Zolfi 2005) . The best
scoring method is Likert scale in range of 0 to 3. (Goldenberg , quoted by Hooman 1998) . This ranking method showed 23 as the test section
point. The indicator above 23 indicates lack of mental health and below 23 represents the health. Palahang (1994) estimated the reliability
coefficient of the test by using retest as 0.91.



Table 1 showed the descriptive information of addicted and non-addicted users on the variables of Internet addiction, loneliness and general
Table 1. Mean and standard deviation of scores in a variable of Internet addiction, loneliness and mental health
moderate users (non- addicted)
standard deviation
7 /8

Internet addicted
9 /9
6 /7

standard deviation

Internet addiction
mental health

Also the table 2 show Mean and standard deviation of addicted Internet and non- addicted in subscales of mental health
Table 2. Mean and standard deviation of participants scales in subscales of mental health
Internet addicted
7 /5
6 /4
5 /3

Normal users (non- addicted)

4 /2
5 /2
4 /6
5 /7

subscales of mental health

physical symptoms
Anxiety& insomnia
social interaction

Table 3. Shown the results related to two groups of Internet addicted and non- addicted in subscales of mental health and loneliness
Mean standard error

Mean difference
4 /4


value T

value F

mental health

The results of table 3 indicated that any significant difference in level a=0.05 has not seen between the loneliness of both addicted and nonaddicted Internet users , this means the male students who are addicted to internet are not more lonelier than non- addicted students.
In addition, these results suggest that there is significant difference between the mental health of addicted and non-addicted Internet users as
0.01 levels. As it can be seen in Table 8, the average health of non-addicted is lower than the addicted users. So, the second hypothesis is
confirmed, we can say as 99% confidence that non-addicted students have enjoyed more mental health than students addicted to the Internet.
Table 4 represents the results of differences test between addicted and non-addicted groups in subscales of mental health.


Comparison of Addicted and Non-addicted University Students in Loneliness and Mental Health
International Journal of Economy, Management and Social Sciences Vol(3), No (12), December, 2014.

Table 4. differences test between addicted and non-addicted groups in subscales of mental health
Mean standard error

Mean difference
4 /1
1 /2
0 /6


Value t
4 /2
2 /5
3 /8

Value F
2 /5
1 /7
3 /2
2 /7

subscales of mental health

Somatic symptoms
Anxiety& insomnia
social interaction

The four subscales of mental health in Table 4 can be seen, different situation. There is significant difference as 0.01 in subscales of somatic
symptoms, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Due to the mean of two groups, it can be said the students addicted to the Internet have poor
situation in terms of anxiety, insomnia, health symptoms and depression subscales of social action. In subscale of social interaction, a more
significant difference between the two groups has not observed.


Discussion and Conclusion

The findings suggest that Internet addicts and non-addicts have not observed significant differences in loneliness. The findings of this study is in
line with to the Qasemzadeh et (2007) study but is non-compatible with other studies (Morahan-Martin and Schumacher, 2000; Nelva and
Anand, 2003, Wang et all (2003) . What can be said in this regard is that sexual differentiation had not taken in other studies
Perhaps the use of the Internet are different between male and female users. Possibly even between users of same gender, we can expect different
effects because of different uses of internet. For example, some Internet users is more often used to maintain social relationships, thus those who
are addicted to the Internet, do not feel more alone. What is certain is that more researches are required about Internet use among women and
men's in Iran.
Other findings showed that Internet addicts have enjoyed less mental health than non-addicts. This finding is consistent with Shapira et al (2000)
, Shepard and Adelman (2005) Davis (2001) Kaplan (2002) . Study of mental health subscales of the tests showed that the components of
physical, anxiety and depression in addicted to the Internet are worse situation than non-addicts. Since people are addicted to the internet spend
many hours of their time sitting in front of a screen and chat with other users and in many cases are so engrossed in the virtual world of the
Internet that even forgot their sleep and food, it can be expected they have more physical and psychological problems . Many users report that
they have been linked to the Internet so that if some causes (such as power outages, Computer failure, network failure, etc.) interrupted their
contact to internet, they will highly experience sadness and depression. Many researchers have observed some characteristics similar to drug
dependence, including tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, compulsion feeling to use the Internet and mood disorders in addicted to the Internet
(including Young, 1998, Armstrong, Philips and Sling, 2000; Shapira et al., 2003; Davis, 2001; Kaplan, 2002; Young and Tung2004)
Combining features of provocative content, ease of access, low cost, anonymity, no time limitation, the lack of responsibility and control are all
of the factors encouraging people to use the Internet and to provide background and context for Physical and mental disorders. Young and Tung
(2004) considers some symptoms such as shaking hands, anxiety, mood changes and depression after disuse as states known in many people are
addicted to the Internet.
Finally, it must be mentioned the limitations of this study. The participants in this study have been male students of Islamic Azad University,
Kermanshah . So the results cannot be generalized to all students. For future research about Internet addiction, it is advised to provide a
standardized instrument in proportion to the Iranian culture in order to measure the addiction Internet in Iran. This tool must equipped with the
lie detector and ensure the reliability and validity of it. Alternatively, it is recommended to examine the effect of knowledge of English on the
Internet usage. Since the most current resources on the Internet are in English, this can be limited the scientific and useful Internet using in our
country, but in turn, the recreational use of the Internet, e.g. using of chat rooms or Persian blogs are generally available.

(Not mentioned)