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health-related quality of life, high school students, problematic internet use, self-esteem



  1. Cam, Hasan Huseyin PhD
  2. Ustuner Top, Fadime PhD


Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of problematic internet use (PIU) among high school students, to evaluate its potential risk factors, and to investigate its relation to self-esteem and health-related quality of life.


Methods: This cross-sectional study included 1,558 high school students in Turkey. Participants completed the Internet Addiction Test as well as the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and 12-item Short Form Health Survey. Demographics and internet usage patterns were also collected. Data analysis was conducted by descriptive and analytical statistics (Pearson chi-square tests, independent-samples t test, and binary logistic regression).


Results: The mean age of the participants was 16.20 +/- 1.05 years. Nearly 21.1% of the participants exhibited PIU (Internet Addiction Test score >= 50). The findings indicated that PIU was associated with poor self-esteem and poor physical and mental health. The PIU was significantly higher among students using the internet for social networking. The chi-square analysis showed a significant correlation between the severities of PIU and the students' type of school, residence, perceived academic performance, and relationship with parents (p < .05). No significant correlation was found between PIU severity and age group, gender, number of siblings, paternal or maternal educational levels, self-reported family income, sleep duration, or whether or not they resided with parents (p > .05).


Conclusions: PIU was found to be a common problem among high school students, and it was significantly correlated with self-esteem and health-related quality of life. To alleviate this public health problem, at-risk groups should be identified and timely management strategies and effective prevention programs should be established.