Perceived connections between information and communication technology use and mental symptoms among young adults - a qualitative study

Thomée, Sara; Dellve, Lotta; Härenstam, Annika; Hagberg, Mats
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10, p66
Academic Journal
Background: Prospective associations have been found between high use of information and communication technology (ICT) and reported mental symptoms among young adult university students, but the causal mechanisms are unclear. Our aim was to explore possible explanations for associations between high ICT use and symptoms of depression, sleep disorders, and stress among young adults in order to propose a model of possible pathways to mental health effects that can be tested epidemiologically. Methods: We conducted a qualitative interview study with 16 women and 16 men (21-28 years), recruited from a cohort of university students on the basis of reporting high computer (n = 28) or mobile phone (n = 20) use at baseline and reporting mental symptoms at the one-year follow-up. Semi-structured interviews were performed, with open-ended questions about possible connections between the use of computers and mobile phones, and stress, depression, and sleep disturbances. The interview data were analyzed with qualitative content analysis and summarized in a model. Results: Central factors appearing to explain high quantitative ICT use were personal dependency, and demands for achievement and availability originating from the domains of work, study, social life, and individual aspirations. Consequences included mental overload, neglect of other activities and personal needs, time pressure, role conflicts, guilt feelings, social isolation, physical symptoms, worry about electromagnetic radiation, and economic problems. Qualitative aspects (destructive communication and information) were also reported, with consequences including vulnerability, misunderstandings, altered values, and feelings of inadequacy. User problems were a source of frustration. Altered ICT use as an effect of mental symptoms was reported, as well as possible positive effects of ICT on mental health. Conclusions: The concepts and ideas of the young adults with high ICT use and mental symptoms generated a model of possible paths for associations between ICT exposure and mental symptoms. Demands for achievement and availability as well as personal dependency were major causes of high ICT exposure but also direct sources of stress and mental symptoms. The proposed model shows that factors in different domains may have an impact and should be considered in epidemiological and intervention studies.


Related Articles

  • Exploring Time Perspective in Greek Young Adults: Validation of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory and Relationships with Mental Health Indicators. Anagnostopoulos, Fotios; Griva, Fay // Social Indicators Research;Mar2012, Vol. 106 Issue 1, p41 

    In this article we examine the factorial structure of the Greek version of the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI; Zimbardo and Boyd in J Personal Soc Psychol 77:1271-1288, ), in a sample of 337 university students, using principal axis factoring (PAF) with oblique rotation, and its...

  • SAÄžLIK YÃœKSEKOKULU VE TEKNÄ°K EĞİTÄ°M FAKÃœLTESÄ° ÄžRENCÄ°LERÄ°NDE GÖRÃœLEN DEPRESÄ°F BELÄ°RTÄ°LER VE BUNU ETKÄ°LEYEN FAKTÖRLERÄ°N Ä°NCELENMESÄ° ALPARSLAN, Neşe; YAŞAR, Msc. Sibel; DERELİ, Msc. Ebru; TURAN, Fatma Nesrin // Turkish Journal of Research & Development in Nursing;2008, Vol. 10 Issue 2, p48 

    Objective: This study was conducted with the aims of finding out the rate of depressive symptoms in the 2nd and 3rd year students of Health College and Technical Education Faculty at a university, and making a contrastive analysis of the affecting factors. Methods: This is a descriptive and...

  • ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN WITNESSING PARENTAL VIOLENCE AND EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS. Nicodimos, Semret; Gelaye, Bizu S.; Williams, Michelle A.; Berhane, Yemane // East African Journal of Public Health;Aug2009, Vol. 6 Issue 2, p184 

    Objective: To examine the association between witnessing parental violence in childhood and experience of depressive symptoms during the academic year among college students in Awassa, Ethiopia. Methods: A total of 2,708 undergraduate students (1,330 female and 1,378 male) completed a...

  • College depression: Causes, duration, and coping. Oswalt, Robert; Finkelberg, Sarah // Psychological Reports;Dec95 Part 1, Vol. 77 Issue 3, p858 

    Reports on a study on college depression. Analysis of responses of a random college sample; Percentage of the sample who considered they were or had been depressed at college; Reasons for depression; Treatment provided by a college.

  • Depression in Nigerian and American students. Lester, David; Akande, Adebowale // Psychological Reports;Jun95, Vol. 76 Issue 3, p906 

    Studies depression among college students in Nigeria and United States. Use of the Beck Depression Inventory; Lack of a clear general pattern of differences on the responses.

  • Is depression contagious?  // Health (Time Inc. Health);May/Jun96, Vol. 10 Issue 3, p45 

    Reports on a study which found that college students with depressed dorm partners where 15 percent more likely to suffer depression themselves.

  • College Health 101: How to stay healthy on campus. Johnson, Teddi Dineley // Nation's Health;Sep2008, Vol. 38 Issue 7, p17 

    The article presents information on how college students can stay healthy on campus. According to data from the American College Health Association, the top five threats to academic performance are: stress; a cold, flu or sore throat; sleep difficulties; concerns for friends or family; and...

  • Two-year outcome of children treated for depression. Vostanis, P.; Feehan, C.; Grattan, E. // European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry;1998, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p12 

    Abstract Fifty-four children and adolescents (age 8-17) were assessed two years after a clinical intervention trial of cognitive-behavioural vs. non-focused treatment for depression. Eleven (20.4%) subjects fulfilled criteria for depression, while 21 (38.9%) reported significant depressive...

  • Sleep problems and depressed mood negatively impact health-related quality of life during pregnancy. Da Costa, Deborah; Dritsa, Maria; Verreault, Nancy; Balaa, Caline; Kudzman, Jennifer; Khalifé, Samir // Archives of Women's Mental Health;Jun2010, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p249 

    The objectives of this study were to evaluate and identify determinants of health related quality of life (HRQoL) during pregnancy. Pregnant women ( n = 245) completed questionnaires measuring: HRQoL (Short Form Health Survey SF-36), life stress, social support, sleep, and depressed mood in the...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics