Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Problematic internet use/computer gaming among US college students: Prevalence and correlates with mental health symptoms.

Stevens C, Zhang E, Cherkerzian S, Chen JA, Liu CH. Problematic internet use/computer gaming among US college students: Prevalence and correlates with mental health symptoms. Depression and anxiety. 2020 Nov 1; 37(11):1127-1136.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Despite widespread internet use and computer gaming, as well as concerns about online addiction, little is known regarding the relationship between problematic internet use/computer gaming and mental health (MH) symptomatology among US college students. To address this gap, the present study examines a large, nation-wide sample of US college students to assess the rate of problematic internet use/computer gaming and its association with MH symptoms. METHODS: Using data from 43,003 undergraduates participating in the 2017 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment, we examined rates of problematic internet use/computer gaming, defined as self-reported internet use/computer gaming that negatively affected academic performance. Logistic regression using a generalized estimating equations approach to adjust for clustering by school examined whether rates of MH symptomatology differed among students who reported problematic versus nonproblematic internet use and computer gaming. RESULTS: Ten percent of students reported problematic internet use/computer gaming that had negatively impacted academic performance. Adjusting for a range of covariates, students reporting problematic internet use/computer gaming had higher rates of all 11 MH indicators examined, with odds ratios ranging from 1.42 ("ever attempted suicide") to 3.90 ("ever felt overwhelmed by all you had to do"). CONCLUSIONS: Problematic internet use/computer gaming is reported by 10% of undergraduate students and represents a significant correlate of MH symptomatology. These findings suggest that problematic internet use/computer gaming will be an important public health focus for college campuses.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.