Heavy internet use and its associations with health risk and health-promoting behaviours among Thai university students

SOURCE: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2014
TITLE AUTHOR(S): K.Peltzer, S.Pengpid, T.Apidechkul
KEYWORDS: HEALTH, INTERNET, RISK BEHAVIOUR, THAILAND, UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
DEPARTMENT: Social Aspects of Public Health (SAPH)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8115

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Abstract

The Internet provides significant benefits for learning about the world, but excessive Internet use can lead to negative outcomes. The aim of this study was to determine the associations between heavy Internet use and health-promoting behaviour, health risk behaviour and health outcomes among university students. The sample included 860 undergraduate university students chosen at random from Mae Fah Luang University in Thailand. Of the participants, 27.3% were male and and 72.7% were female in the age range of 18-25 years (M age = 20.1 years, SD = 1.3). Overall, students spent on average 5.3 h (SD = 2.6) per day on the internet, and 35.3% engaged in heavy internet use (6 or more hours per day). In multivariate logistic regression adjusting for sociodemographics, lack of dental check-ups, three health risk behaviours (sedentary lifestyle, illicit drug use and gambling) and three health outcomes [being underweight, overweight or obese and having screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)] were found to be associated with heavy Internet use. The results from this study may support the importance of developing early protective and preventive actions against problematic internet use to promote university student health.