Online Program

Associations of time use in the Internet and sleep duration with depressive symptomatology in college students

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Claire Chen, International Billingual School of Hsinchu, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Chi Chiao, PhD, Institute of Health and Welfare Policy, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
Background. Prior studies suggest excessive Internet use and insufficient sleep are independently associated with mental health outcomes among college students. Yet, little is known about personal choices constrained in time with these two risky behaviors and its relationship with depressive symptomatology. This study builds upon the budget constraint model and hypothesizes a trade-off between students' choices of the Internet use and sleep within their time associated with depressive symptomatology.

Methods. We used data from the Taiwan Youth Project, a college sample of 20-year-olds (N=1,331), to construct an indicator that measures the weekly time ratio of Internet use over sleep and to explore the relationship between this indicator and depressive symptomatology. Incorporating risky behaviors of college students and their peers where the literature provides strong evidence, multivariate regression models included data on early sex involvement, alcohol consumption of college students and their good friends, and individual/family factors may influence this relationship.

Results. The mean time ratio in Internet/sleep was 0.21 (SD=0.26). Using the cut-off of 0.48, one-tenths of college students report that their weekly time use on the Internet to sleep duration are of that ratio or above. Multivariate regression analyses further reveal college students with the Internet/sleep ratio of 0.48 or greater have higher levels of depressive symptomatology (β=2.16, p<0.01), compared to their counterparts.

Conclusion. These findings suggest the time ratio of Internet/sleep for college students as an important indicator of depressive symptomatology. Future programs in mental health promotion to incorporate this index into school and even social policies is recommended.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the importance of depressive symptomatology among college students. Identify the ratio of time use in the Internet over sleep associated with depressive symptomatology, even controlling for risky behaviors of college students and their good friends, gender, and parental education. Describe and apply the analytical approaches used in this study.

Keyword(s): Child/Adolescent Mental Health, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am supervised by Dr. Chi Chiao, who is a faculty with National Yang-Ming University.
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.