Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2015 Aug 5;10(8):e0134538. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134538. eCollection 2015.

Problematic Internet Usage and Immune Function.

Author information

1
Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom.
2
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, Swansea, United Kingdom.
3
Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy.

Abstract

Problematic internet use has been associated with a variety of psychological comorbidities, but it relationship with physical illness has not received the same degree of investigation. The current study surveyed 505 participants online, and asked about their levels of problematic internet usage (Internet Addiction Test), depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales), social isolation (UCLA Loneliness Questionnaire), sleep problems (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), and their current health - General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28), and the Immune Function Questionnaire. The results demonstrated that around 30% of the sample displayed mild or worse levels of internet addiction, as measured by the IAT. Although there were differences in the purposes for which males and females used the internet, there were no differences in terms of levels of problematic usage between genders. The internet problems were strongly related to all of the other psychological variables such as depression, anxiety, social-isolation, and sleep problems. Internet addiction was also associated with reduced self-reported immune function, but not with the measure of general health (GHQ-28). This relationship between problematic internet use and reduced immune function was found to be independent of the impact of the co-morbidities. It is suggested that the negative relationship between level of problematic internet use and immune function may be mediated by levels of stress produced by such internet use, and subsequent sympathetic nervous activity, which related to immune-supressants, such as cortisol.

PMID:
26244339
PMCID:
PMC4526519
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0134538
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center