The Validity and Reliability of the Problematic Internet Usage Scale

Article excerpt

Abstract

In this research, it was aimed to develop an instrument for determining problematic internet usage of university students. Factorial structure of the data collected from 1658 university students revealed three factors. Of these, the first factor is called negative consequences of the internet and accounted for 25.36% of the variance, the second factor is called social benefit / social comfort and accounted for 14.62% of the variance, and the third factor is called excessive usage and explained 8.98 % of the variance. All three factors consisting of 33 items accounted for the 48.96% of the total variance. It was found that the scale was able to discriminate problematic internet use with respect to the time spent on the internet and individuals' perception of themselves as the internet addicts. The correlation between the scale and the Davis's Online Cognitive Scale-Turkish adaptation (Keser Özcan ve Buzlu, 2005) was found as 0.61. Internal consistency coefficient of the scale (a) was found to be 0.94. Item total correlations ranged between 0.31 and 0.70 (p<.001). Test-re-test reliability coefficient was found to be 0.81 and split half reliability coefficient was found to be 0.83. Thus, the scale called as "the Problematic Internet Usage Scale" was developed.

Key Words

Internet, problematic internet usage, reliability, scale development, validity.

The internet is an important communication medium which has emerged in the field of communication technologies in our time. Development of the internet has also affected almost all aspects of social life. However, the internet has come up with some important negativity in our social life such as the unethical use of the internet, excessive use of the internet, and the internet addiction.

Recently, it has been indicated that individuals may show important disorders in critical areas containing social, academic, professional, and physical health in relation to the time they spend on the internet and the excessive use of the internet. Studies revealed findings which indicate that the internet users began to show behaviors similar to other addictions such as drug, alcohol, or gambling (Griffits, 1996; Young, 1998). Therefore, problematic internet use may damage individuals' relations with their environments and hinder their success. For this reason, the internet related psychological dependency or pathological internet use is a great field of interest in research and discussion. In the literature, many concepts such as the internet addiction, the internet dependency, problematic internet use, and pathological the internet use and cyber addiction have been used in order to define excessive the internet use behaviors of individuals whose lives were affected negatively. Moreover, in the literature, various researchers developed various measuring instruments in order to determine the internet addiction or excessive or abusive use of the internet (Caplan, 2002; Davis, Flett & Beser, 2002; Morahan-Martin & Schumacher, 2000; Tsai & Lin, 2001; Widyanto & McMurran, 2004; Young, 1998).

University students are one of the first groups that began to use the internet most prevalently and the first group began to have problems related with excessive the internet use (DiNicola, 2004). Thus, university students are more likely to develop problems related with excessive internet use due to various factors including developmental problems (Kandell, 1998) and easy access to the internet (Anderson, 2001). Because of this, there is a great need for various researches directed towards on problematic internet use and understanding students' the internet use behaviors. This study aims at developing a measuring instrument to determine problematic internet use in university students.

Method

Four different working groups who attend Anadolu University within 2005-2006 education year were used in the study. There are 2491 university students totally in these four groups. …