Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

No harm in extended internet use

05.02.2004


Heavy Internet use may be therapeutic for those people facing social isolation and loneliness, says a University of Alberta study--dispelling the belief that high computer usage leads to psychological problems.

A team of researchers, lead by graduate student Mary Modayil, challenged the notion that heavy Internet use increases levels of depression for its users. The research was recently published in the journal Cyberpsychology and Behavior.

Modayil and her team, made up of Dr. Gus Thompson and Dr. Doug Wilson from Public Health Sciences and Dr. Stanley Varnhagen from the Faculty of Extension, tested the widespread belief and the results of a previous studies that found being online for long periods results in greater social isolation.



"To me, anecdotal evidence suggested otherwise, which was a good reason to do the study," said Modayil.

During the summer of 2000, Modayil, then a master’s student in the Department of Public Health Sciences, questioned online users in the Edmonton area about their psychological well-being. This region consistently collects health information through government-mandated questionnaires which gave the research team a comparison group in the general population to use against the Internet sample.

In almost all variables she found that Internet users on average scored more negatively than the regular community. However, for each of the psychological items, she also asked when the Internet users first experienced their symptoms and "found that onset of psychological symptoms clearly preceded Internet use," at a range of five to 22 years. The research also showed that the Internet group reported a greater tendency toward membership in voluntary organizations and a higher level of helping others.

Those findings suggest that Internet use is possibly supportive and therapeutic and despite their other difficulties, these individuals are maintaining some form of social connectedness away from the computer, said Modayil.

"It is quite conceivable that socially awkward individuals, who nonetheless crave social interaction, would gravitate to a medium that allows for myriad social interactions of varying degrees of intimacy, but with the safety accorded by the controllable anonymity of electronic contact," said the researchers in the paper.

Modayil is now working towards her doctorate in Epidemiology at the University of South Carolina.

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

nachricht Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>