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How Have Researchers Acknowledged and Controlled for Academic Work Activity When Measuring Medical Students’ Internet Addiction? A Systematic Literature Review

1
College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khoud 0123, Oman
2
Department for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, University of Tübingen, 72001 Tübingen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gergely Fehér and Gergely Darnai
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7681; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147681
Received: 28 June 2021 / Revised: 15 July 2021 / Accepted: 16 July 2021 / Published: 20 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Topic Internet Addiction)
Internationally, medical students’ Internet Addiction (IA) is widely studied. As medical students use the Internet extensively for work, we asked how researchers control for work-related Internet activity, and the extent to which this influences interpretations of “addiction” rates. A search of PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar was conducted on the search phrase of “medical students” and “internet addiction” in March 2020. In total, 98 studies met our criteria, 88 (90%) used Young’s Internet Addiction Test, and the studies’ IA rates ranged widely. Little note was taken of work-related activity, and, when discussed, had little to no impact on the interpretation of Internet “addiction”. Studies seldom accounted for work-related activities, researcher bias appears to influence their position, “usage” appears conflated with “addiction”, and correlations between “addiction” and negative behaviours are frequently confused with one-way causation. In spite of IA’s not being officially recognised, few researchers questioned its validity. While IA may exist among medical students, its measurement is flawed; given the use of the Internet as a crucial medical education tool, there is the risk that conscientious students will be labelled “addicted”, and poor academic performance may be attributed to this “addiction”. View Full-Text
Keywords: internet addiction; medical students; medical education internet addiction; medical students; medical education
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MDPI and ACS Style

Masters, K.; Loda, T.; Tervooren, F.; Herrmann-Werner, A. How Have Researchers Acknowledged and Controlled for Academic Work Activity When Measuring Medical Students’ Internet Addiction? A Systematic Literature Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7681. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147681

AMA Style

Masters K, Loda T, Tervooren F, Herrmann-Werner A. How Have Researchers Acknowledged and Controlled for Academic Work Activity When Measuring Medical Students’ Internet Addiction? A Systematic Literature Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(14):7681. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147681

Chicago/Turabian Style

Masters, Ken, Teresa Loda, Finja Tervooren, and Anne Herrmann-Werner. 2021. "How Have Researchers Acknowledged and Controlled for Academic Work Activity When Measuring Medical Students’ Internet Addiction? A Systematic Literature Review" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 14: 7681. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147681

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