Demographic psychosocial factors associated with internet addiction among the Pakistani population during COVID-19: A web-based survey

Document Type



Medical College Pakistan; Community Health Sciences


This study aims to determine the burden of COVID19-induced internet addiction and related psychosocial factors among the Pakistani sample. A web-based cross-sectional survey was conducted from January to March 2021. An analytical crosssectional survey was broadcast on the internet via a Google form completed by 1145 Pakistanis. Individuals aged 13 years and above with competency to comprehend English or Urdu language, currently residing in any province of Pakistan, having access to the questionnaire, and willing to participate were eligible to participate. Overseas Pakistanis were excluded from the study. The outcome is COVID19-induced internet addiction was measured using the validated tool Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT). In addition, symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and other psychosocial factors were assessed using the validated tool Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21). Adjusted odds ratios with a 95% confidence interval were reported using multinomial logistic regression. Most participants were females and youth (between 20 and 24 years). The prevalence of problematic internet users (PIU) and addictive internet users (AIU) was 27.3% and 11.3%, respectively. The odds of extremely severe anxiety among AIU were approximately three times (Adj OR: 2.6 (1.1-7.1), followed by the odds of having extremely severe stress being about five times higher among AIU (Adj OR: 5.4 (1.6-17.6)) as compared to normal internet users (NIU). Amid COVID-19, the burden of internet addiction has surged among the Pakistani populace. This study identified that gender, marital status, depression, stress, anxiety, work situation, and mood changes during the COVID-19 pandemic are significantly correlated with problematic and addictive internet use. Preventative measures against the addictive use of the internet are needed to avoid or mitigate any serious mental health problems


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Inquiry : A journal of medical care organization, provision and financing