Pandemic led to increased internet addiction in Americans

Jagdish Khubchandani, public health professor at New Mexico State University, co-authored a study that found internet addiction could be linked to mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

LAS CRUCES – Millions of Americans turned to technology — especially the internet — to work, communicate and pass the time in lockdown during the pandemic. Yet, little is known in the United States about the effects of growing internet usage.

Now, new research from a public health professor at New Mexico State University shows more than half of the adult population in the U.S. is either at risk of addiction or severely addicted to the internet — a behavioral health issue tied to depression and anxiety.

Jagdish Khubchandani, a public health professor at NMSU, conducted a first-of-its-kind national study assessing the relationship between internet addiction and psychological outcomes a year into the pandemic. The study included more than 1,300 participants.

Khubchandani used novel methods to classify study participants into internet addiction categories based on graded and incremental dependence on the internet within the past year.

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The study findings, published in Psychiatry International, showed 45 percent of the participants had no internet addiction. However, 41 percent had probable addiction or were at risk for addiction, while the remaining 14 percent had definite or severe addiction.


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