Provost Burrus and Adjunct Faculty Shaw Publish in Common Ground Research Networks on Adult Maladaptive Internet Use, Depression, and Self-Efficacy in Hong Kong
Internet use for nearly all daily activities has escalated over the last twenty years as an adaptive response to increased provision of devices, programs, and access. Positive results include increased connectivity and negative results include maladaptive internet use (MIU), frequently investigated in youth under a variety of names, despite the lack of concordance on a model. Common factors identified include age, male gender, amotivation for responsibilities, depressive symptomology, and low self-efficacy. There is a distinct absence of research on adult populations, hindering full development of the concept of MIU. The focus of this research was to assess the relationship between levels of internet use and depression, self-efficacy, age, and gender in an adult population in Hong Kong. A quantitative correlational online survey design was employed to assess the levels of the above in a sample of residents. Participants (n = 203) included in the survey were English speaking adults, aged between 22 and 65, resident in Hong Kong, representing twenty-eight nationalities, with 32.51 percent male (n = 66), and 67.48 percent female (n = 137). The survey consisted of inventories for Internet Addiction, Depression, Self-Efficacy, and demographic items. MIU was significantly correlated with depression, age, and self-efficacy, but not gender. There is an adult population who present with significantly maladaptive internet use patterns correlated with depression, low self-efficacy, and lower age, which could significantly impact youth MIU, where adults provide guidance and modelling of behaviors. The absence of a standardized definition greatly hinders the provision of adequate awareness, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention measures for all.