Combined use of alcohol and the internet: Associated features

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Substance Use and Misuse


Background: With the potentiality of excessive Internet usage being associated with adverse consequences, the current study assessed adverse outcomes of combined Internet and alcohol misuse. Objective: We hypothesized that participants who simultaneously engage in both alcohol and Internet use would experience adverse outcomes from their actions, compared to those who just misuse the Internet in the absence of alcohol. Methods: The current study deployed an anonymous online survey comprised of scales measuring several domains such as impulsivity, neglect of responsibilities, depression, frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption, as well as Internet usage. From a large (N = 550) sample of college student surveys, we compared the 39 Internet drinkers with a randomly selected sampled of 39 non-drinking counterparts. Results: Relative to their non-drinking counterparts, Internet Drinkers were elevated on measures of alcohol misuse and some features of Internet addiction, but not depression. Conclusion: Of the final sample, 64.7% of those who drank alcohol while using the Internet indicated doing something they later regretted while online. Further exploration is warranted to more fully understand how non-substance compulsive behaviors can be misused and how they interact with substance misuse and co-occurring mental health issues.


K. K. Saules is a faculty member in EMU's Department of Psychology.

*A. N. Berdin is an EMU student.

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