the recent years the number of people using internet is drastically increasing.
A research claims that in the year 2016 the number of internet users in India
has crossed 462 million which is 34.8% of the Indian population. It is
predicted to grow higher in the coming years. One of the reasons for this
sudden change is that the network providers are offering unlimited internet access
at a very minimal cost leading to increased internet usage. Among the various
users college students seem to be more prone to develop dependency on the
internet (Chou & Hsiao, 2000). Though internet on one hand helps the
youngsters to have prompt access to information, on the other hand it gets them
addicted too. Research findings suggest that due to the increased internet
access individuals experience sleep disturbances and various sleep related problems
(Cheung & Wong, 2011). Added to that, problematic internet usage leads to
unhealthy lifestyle and low levels of psychological wellbeing (Kim,
LaRose&Peng, 2009).This study investigates the impact of internet addiction
on the psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep among the youngsters.
in any form involves preoccupation with the use, lack of control regarding the
usage and continuance of usage in spite of problems. Internet addiction is
treated as impulse control disorder that does not involve an intoxicant akin to
pathological gambling.It involves traits or behaviours such as having constant
thoughts about online activity (preoccupation),feeling the need to use internet
for an increased period of time, experiencing inability to control the usage of
internet, feeling irritable and depressed in the absence of internet access,
spending more time than intended, encountering relationship related or work
related problem because of internet usage, lying to others regarding one’s compulsive
usage of internetand using internet as a means to escape from helplessness,
guilt, anxiety and depression (Young, 2004).Researchers have categorised
internet users into three groups namely, non addicts, possible addicts and
addicts based on the level of addiction (Young, 1998).Internet addiction apart
from resulting in behavioural problems and emotional issues has an impact on the
individual’s psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep.
wellbeing is difficult to operationalize because it is also related to quality
of life and life satisfaction (Hassmen, Koivula&Uutela, 2000;Ryff&
Keyes, 1995).Psychological wellbeing is defined as “overall effectiveness of an
individual’s psychological functioning” (Wright &Cropanzano, 2000, 85). It
involves self-esteem, cognitive functioning, personality, mood, positive affect
and negative affect (Hassmen, Koivula&Uutela, 2000;Ryff&Keyes, 1995). The
dimensions of psychological wellbeing proposed by Ryff (1995) are self-acceptance,
positive relations with other people, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose
in life and personal growth.
is about having a positive attitude about oneself, accepting oneself with both
good and bad qualities, and to view one’s past positively (Ryff, 1995). In
short it is a combination of self-actualization, optimal functioning and
maturity (Ryff, 1989). Positive relationship with others is to maintain a healthy
relationship with others, to focus on the welfare of others together with
owning the feelings of empathy, affection and intimacy (Ryff, 1995). It includes
the ability to trust and love (Ryff, 1989).Autonomy is to assess oneself by
personal standards and not yielding to social pressure. It is about being independent and
self-determining.Environmental mastery involves the ability to manage complex
external activities and making the right use of opportunities. It is about
choosing or creating situations to fulfil personal needs.Purpose in life
includes having goals and a sense of orientation in one’s life and a sense of
directedness. It is about identifying meaning in one’s present and past life.
Personal growth is to have continued development and being open to new
experiences. It is the ability to improve oneself and own the faculty of
reflection and self-knowledge(Ryff, 1995). It is also about developing, growing
and expanding in to a person (Ryff, 1989).
Quality of Sleep
There is a close relationship between
psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep. Those who lack psychological
wellbeing experience low sleep quality too. In the recent days the problem
regarding sleep is on the increase. 18% to 24% of the human population have
sleep related problems. These sleep related issues are more commonly found
among youngsters (Aloba, Adewuya, Ola &Mapayi, 2007).
among students suggests that there is a strong relationship
between quality of sleep and psychosomatic and neurotic issues. Deficiency of
sleep leads to sleepiness during the day, tiredness, poor performance in work
that needs more concentration, achievement motivation, mood and motor
coordination. Sleep deprivation may affect the academic performance of students
(Meijer, Habekothé&Wittenboer, 2000).
Sleep could be classified into two
components: Sleep quantity and sleep quality. The quantitative dimension is
about sleep duration, sleep latency and number of awakenings at night.The qualitative
dimension involvesdepth of sleep, restfulness during sleep and individual’s
satisfaction with sleep(Pilcher, Ginter&Sadowsky, 1997).So as to quantify,
define and measure the quality of sleep researchers came up with a sleep
quality index. The index contained seven components namely, subjective sleep
quality, sleep latency, sleep duration, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep
disturbances, usage of medication and day time disturbances (Buysse, Reynolds
III, Monk, Berman &Kupfer, 1989).
Since internet usage is on the increase
it affects the individual’s overall wellbeing including psychological wellbeing
and quality of sleep (Lam, 2014; Gross, Jevonen& Gable, 2002). The
real cause of problematic internet usage is the unmet real life needs. Internet
users satisfy such unmet needs by having access to internet. According to
self-determination theory there are mainly three types of needs namely,
relatedness, competence and autonomy. By having access to internet, individuals
try to fulfil these needs. Relatedness is about having relationship with
others, Competence is about sense of mastery and autonomy is about experiencing
satisfaction by making one’s own choices and decisions and performing its
related activities. By having accesses to social media such as facebook and twitter
people experience this relatedness. Social media gives them control over the
way in which they desire to relate with people. This gives them a sense of
autonomy. By participating in online games and other competition based
activities individuals experience a sense of competence. Thus internet has
offered an easily accessible opportunity to fulfil all these needs and thus
reinforced the stimulus (Wong, Yuen & Li, 2015). As a result of this
reinforcement youth get themselves addicted to internet and it eventually leads
them to emotional, relational and physiological dysfunction.
research that was conducted among the adolescence on internet usage suggests
that excess internet usage has a detrimental effect on the overall wellbeing of
the individuals (Gross, Jevonen& Gable, 2002). Hence it is hypothesised
that internet addiction has an impact on the psychological wellbeing.A
comparative study between the internet addicts, possible internet addicts and
non-addicts suggest that non-addicts experienced better psychological wellbeing
than the other groups (Whang, Lee & Chang, 2003). It is also hypothesised that
the psychological wellbeing of non addicts with be significantly better than
that of those who have addictive behaviour.
Internet addiction predicts psychological wellbeing
Psychological wellbeing of non addicts is significantly higher than that of
systematic review that involved 4 studies on internet usage suggests that there
is a close relationship between problematic internet usage and sleep related
problems including insomnia and poor sleep quality (Lam, 2014).Hence it is
hypothesised that internet addiction has an impact on the quality of sleep.It
is also hypothesised that quality of sleep of non addicts with be significantly
better than that of those who have addictive behaviour.
Internet addiction predicts quality of sleep
Quality of sleep of non addicts is significantly higher than that of addicts.
A research on the
relationship between quality of sleep, health and wellbeing suggest that there
is an association between the individual’s sleep quality and health, affect
balance, and satisfaction with life (Pilcher, Ginter&Sadowsky, 1997). Higher
the psychological wellbeing score the better the individual is and lower the
quality of sleep score better quality of sleep the individual has. Hence it is hypothesised that there is a negative
between the individual’s psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep scores.
H3: There is a significant negative
correlation between psychological wellbeing score and quality of sleep.
Descriptive research design was
employed in this study. The objective of the research is to understand individual’s
attitude and behaviour pattern regarding internet usage, psychological
wellbeing and quality of sleep in a naturally occurring situation,and descriptive
research design was found to fulfil the purpose.
The universe chosen for this research
was 340 PG students. Simple random sampling technique was used to collect the
data. Since simple random sampling offers equal probability of selection this
technique was utilized. Data was gathered from 54 students whose age ranged
from 19 to 25. Among them 3 were
internet addicts, 26 were possible addicts and 25 were non addicts. Since the
number of participants who were internet addicts was small internet addicts
were removed from the analysis. All the 54 students were post graduate
students. Among them 79.6% were from rural background and 22.4% were from urban
background, and 46.2% were male and 51.9% were female. The hours of internet
usage ranged from one hour to ten hours per day.
The level of internet addiction was identified using the Internet
Addiction Test of Young (1998). It is a 20 item questionnaire.It
classifies individuals into three groups: non addicts, possible addicts and
internet addicts. Psychological
Wellbeing was measured using Ryff’s Scales of Psychological Well-being
(SPWB). It is a 42 item questionnaire. The respondents were asked to indicate
their degree of agreement using a score ranging from 1-6. Higher the score
better is the psychological wellbeing. Quality of sleep was measured using Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).It is
consists of 19 self-rated questions and five questions rated by the bedpartner
or roommate. Participants were asked to answer about their usual sleep habits
during the past month. Lower the score better is the quality of sleep.
analysis was used to understand the causal effect of internet addiction on
psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep. To assess the significant
differencein level of psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep between the possible
internet addicts and non addictst
test was used. Pearson’s correlation analysis was used to understand the
relationship between psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep.
Simple linear regression analysis was
used to test whether internet addiction predict psychological wellbeing and
quality of sleep. The results of the regression analysis indicates that 73.7%
of psychological wellbeing is predicted by internet addiction (R²
=.73, F(1, 49)= 137.17, p< .05) and 56.6% of quality of sleep is predicted by internet addiction (R² = .56, F(1, 49) = 63.87, p< .05). Independent sample t test was used to compare the mean scores of psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep between possible internet addicts and non addicts.The result suggests that the psychological wellbeing of non addicts (M = 194.69, SD = 18.45) is significantly higher than that of possible internet addicts (M = 138.84, SD = 15.40), t(49) = -11.71, p< .05 and the quality of sleep of non addicts (M = 4.31, SD = 2.38) is significantly higher than that of possible internet addicts (M = 9.40, SD = 2.16), t(49) = 7.99, p< .05. Correlational analysis reported than there exists moderate negative correlation between psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep r = -.70, p< .05. Discussion The result asserts the causal effect of internet addiction on the psychological wellbeing. It affirms the previous findings of Kim, LaRose and Peng (2009)who suggested the impact of internet usage on the psychological wellbeing and negative life outcomes namely,work school and relationship. The research also supports the results of Whang, Lee and Chang (2003) who ascertained the idea that non addicts experience better psychological wellbeing.The results on the impact of internet addiction on quality of sleep and the existence of lower quality of sleep among the possible addicts affirm the proposal of Lam (2014) who states that internet addiction would induce low quality of sleep, insomnia and short sleep problem.The result on the existence of correlation between psychological wellbeing and quality of sleep supports the findings of Pilcher, GinterandSadowsky (1997). People have recourse to internet to fulfil their unmet needs namely support, autonomy and competence. Over reliance provides them a sense of identity and meaning and intimate relationship (Chou & Hsiao, 2000). At the same time researchers suggest that people who use internet to fulfil their need for social support in spite of getting online support still experience loneliness. This in turn makes them to have recourse to internet again and again and thus creating a vicious cycle of internet reliance (Wong, Yuen & Li, 2015). The best way to assist internet addicts is to help them to find out real-time conventional ways of finding their needs met instead of having recourse to internet. It could be done by offering personal counselling and group therapy, creating support group and the like. This would help them to develop a sense of competence, autonomy, meaning and identity, and facilitate interpersonal relationship. Students are the most vulnerable when it comes to internet addiction.The factors that pave way for internet addiction are unlimited internet access, more free time, less or lack of parental control, lack of monitoring and lack of social recognition (Young, 2004). It is necessary to bring about awareness among youngsters, parents and academic authoritiesregarding the pathological usage of internet and its impact on the individuals. This may help them to collectively come up with interventions that would facilitate the youngsters to prudently use internet. Adolescence and youth hood are important phases in an individual's life. It is here an individual's cognitive, emotional and behavioural components get fully developed and become integrated. Right amount of quality sleep and healthy levels of psychological wellbeing facilitates this stage of development and integration. Since internet addiction plays an important role in quality of sleep and psychological wellbeing, teaching them right internet usage would help them to move towards a healthy integration. As the number of internet addicts among the participants were few their scores were not considered for the analysis. This research is limited to the non addicts and the possible addicts alone. The sample size is small and majority of the students were from the rural background. Lack of representation from internet addicts, small sample size and the rural background of the participants would have had an impact on the results. Future researchers while gathering data may include internet addicts in their research, have a bigger sample size and gather data from students belonging to different background. This may give a comprehensive picture about the impact of internet addiction on quality of sleep and psychological wellbeing of youngsters.