The relationship between loneliness, depression, internet and social media addiction among young Polish women

Abstract.

When speaking of behavioral addictions (especially to the Internet and social media), it is emphasized that it is not the environment that is the main contributor to addiction, but rather certain behaviors and personality traits. The aim of this study was to assess the level of Internet and social media addiction on the example of Facebook with regard to psychological and social factors. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: This survey-based study involved a group of women representing the female population in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland (N = 556). Research instruments were a self-developed questionnaire concerning sociodemographic data, the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Internet Addiction Test, and the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale. RESULTS: Age, depressive symptoms, loneliness were the variable contributing to Internet and Facebook addiction among the studied. Available studies confirm the results of their own research. CONCLUSIONS: Depressive symptoms and dependence on the Internet and Facebook were more common among single women. In the employed women, we only observed higher levels of Internet and Facebook addiction. The level of dependence on the Internet and Facebook was higher among younger women. Loneliness correlated with Internet and Facebook addiction, and more severe depressive symptoms entailed higher levels of Internet and Facebook addiction.

Introduction The problem of addiction to the so-called ‘new’ media has been present in literature for many years. For nearly a decade, researchers have been emphasizing that addiction does not necessarily develop as a result of using addictive substances, but can be an effect of excessive contact with digital technologies1,2. The concept of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) was introduced in 1996 by Kimberly Young, who recommended its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Unfortunately, due to the difficulty determining the psychopathological basis of IAD, as well as the boundary between functional and non-functional Internet use, IAD is not considered a diagnostic entity in the DSM-53. According to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th revision, also known as the International Classification of Diseases 10th revision (ICD-10), Internet addiction is not a distinct nosological entity, but a ‘habit and impulse disorder, unspecified’. In the standard classification of mental disorders (the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association, it has been added to the subgroup of disorders that require further investigation in the group of Addictive Disorders

Numerous scientists consistently regard addiction as a multifactorial phenomenon, which includes many aspects of human functioning from evolutionary adaptation through the quantum and biochemical mechanics of the brain to the complex and multidimensional interaction between a person and the environment9. The exact causes of addiction have not been fully understood. Hou et al10 suggest the role of genetic background. When speaking of behavioral addictions, it is emphasized that is not the environment that is the main contributor to addiction, but rather certain behaviors and personality traits, among them depression, anxiety, hostile/ aggressive behavior, impulsivity, psychotic behaviors, neuroticism, shyness, low self-esteem, and dissocial personality traits (manifested by a lack of empathy, and a failure to comply with social, legal and safety standards)11,12. Currently, there is no “gold standard” of treatment for people suffering from Internet and social media addiction. Nevertheless, researchers agree that in working with patients, the main goal should be to implement control over Internet activity, rather than total abstinence. Treatment and prevention strategies include cognitive behavioral therapy. Before implementing this therapy, it is necessary to examine the specific models of using the Internet and social media by the patient, and then introduce new elements to the existing schemas. Family support groups are organized to break predefined harmful patterns, and to support the effects of therapy with a dedicated program that controls the intensity of network use13. The aim of this study was to assess the level of Internet and social media addiction on the example of Facebook with regard to psychological (depressive symptoms, loneliness) and social (marital status, employment, age, education, place of residence) factors.

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