Article

Prevalence of Addiction to the Internet, Computer Games, DVD, and Video and Its Relationship to Anxiety and Depression in a Sample of Iranian High School Students

ABSTRACT Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of addiction to the Internet, computer games, DVD, and video and its relationship to anxiety and depression in a sample of Iranian high school students.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study 1020 high school students (males and females) were selected randomly from different areas of Shiraz city in southern Iran. They were interviewed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed (DSM-IV) criteria.

Results: About 50% of the students were females, 277 students (27.2%) were studying in the first year of high school, 242 (23.7%) were in the second year, and others in the third year. The prevalence of anxiety was significantly higher in females than in males (p < 0.05). The prevalence of anxiety was lower among students of the third year (p < 0.05). The prevalence of depression was significantly higher in students with lower economic status defined as family monthly income. Internet dependence was seen only in 5 students. The prevalence of anxiety was significantly higher in the students who used internet for chatting, amusement, and reading news (p < 0.05). The prevalence of anxiety was significantly higher in students who were DVD or video CD dependents (p < 0.05). The students who used especial drugs or had especial diseases had higher rates of depression and anxiety (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Internet addiction may cause depression and anxiety in high school students. It seems necessary to develop an Internet addiction prevention program for adolescents taking into account the psychological factors such as depression and Internet use habits.

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