Problematic Internet Use, Social Needs, and Social Support Among Youth

Dora K. Prievara, Bettina F. Piko, Aleksandra Luszczynska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The Internet is essential for the teenagers and young adults who are spending hours online every day. In an effort to better understand the role of the Internet in their lives, we hypothesized that users increased their online time for social reasons. In this online survey, 408 (204 girls and 204 boys; aged between 14 and 24 years) participants were recruited from high schools and universities. The questionnaire included scales about the problematic Internet use (PIU), need to belong, shyness, loneliness, and perceived social support. PIU was directly related to a higher need to belong, higher shyness, and higher loneliness. The perceived support was associated indirectly with PIU. Loneliness showed the most decisive role in the development of PIU, and social support also contributed through this variable. Our data indicate that social support from the offline environment can be a protective factor against PIU, emphasizing the important roles of friends and family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-1019
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2019


  • Loneliness
  • Need to belong
  • Problematic Internet use
  • Shyness
  • Social support
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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