Problematic Internet Use, Psychopathology, Defense Mechanisms, and Coping Strategies: a Cross-Sectional Study from the United Arab Emirates

Zahir Vally, Stéphanie Laconi, Katarzyna Kaliszewska-Czeremska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A number of studies point to a demonstrated relationship between problematic Internet use (PIU) and psychopathological variables. However, explorations of PIU in relation to defense mechanisms and coping strategies remain rare. The present study sought to determine the extent of PIU among a sample of college-aged young adults resident in the United Arab Emirates. The relationship of PIU to two psychopathological variables (depression and low self-esteem) and two psychological variables (defense mechanisms and coping strategies) were examined. A sample of 697 Emirati participants aged between 18 and 33 years of age completed assessments of PIU, socio-demographic, psychopathological, and psychological variables. A total of 67.3% exhibited PIU. Problematic users produced higher scores for maladaptive coping strategies and for the use of immature, neurotic, and autistic fantasy defenses. Regression analyses revealed that PIU was predicted by the mature, immature, and autistic fantasy defenses as well as, negatively by adaptive coping, and positively by maladaptive coping. These differed when the analyses were repeated on gender-stratified samples. Given that this initial prevalence estimation suggests that PIU may be a substantial issue in this region of the world, future research should examine the mental health risk factors related to PIU, particularly their causal relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-602
Number of pages16
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Volume91
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2020

Keywords

  • Coping
  • Defense
  • Internet addiction
  • Mental health
  • Problematic internet use
  • Psychopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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