220654 Perceived Social Support Mediates the Relationships between Depression and Problematic Internet Use

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

James B. Weaver III, PhD MPH , National Center for Health Marketing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Darren Mays, PhD MPH , National Center for Health Marketing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Stephanie Sargent Weaver, PhD MPH CHES , National Center for Health Marketing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Nancy Thompson, PhD, MPH , Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Duane C. McBride, PhD , Behavioral Science Department, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI
Objectives. Research on problematic internet use and mental health has been conducted primarily among adolescents. Little is known about this relationship among adults. This study investigated whether social support and social self-efficacy (SSE) mediate the relationship between perceived problematic internet use (PPIU; e.g., delaying important activities or failing to control time spent online) and depression among adults. Methods. An internet-based, cross-sectional survey was administered to 559 adults in western Washington. Items assessed demographics, perceived social support, social self-efficacy, perceptions of internet use, and depression. Mediation pathways were tested using structural equation modeling. Results. The hypothesis that perceived social support and SSE mediate the relationship between PPIU and depression was supported. PPIU was negatively linked with both social support and SSE, which were both positively linked with depression. This suggests that social support and SSE represent important mediators of the relationship between PPIU and depression among a sample of U.S. adults. Conclusions. The findings of this study indicate that, among internet using adults, PPIU that is, individuals' recognition that their internet use behaviors are interfering with other aspects of their lives is associated with higher levels of depression. While directionality remains unclear, it seems that individuals' perceptions of their social relationships may represent a particularly important target for interventions seeking to reduce depression among problematic internet users. SSE appears to be not only an important intermediary in the relationship between problematic internet use and depression, but also related to individual perceptions of social support.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
(1) Describe and summarize prior research on problematic internet use and mental health. (2) Explain research findings suggesting that the relationship between perceived problematic internet use (PPIU) and depression is mediated by social support and social self-efficacy within a general population adult sample. (3) Discuss the application of this enhanced understanding of linkages between perceived problematic internet use (PPIU) and depression in the tailoring and targeting of health promotion interventions.

Keywords: Depression, Interpreters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have research, presented, and published on this topic extensively.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 5022.0: Mental health treatment