Internet use patterns and the relation between generalized problematic internet use and psychological distress in Portuguese university students


  • Berta Rodrigues Maia The Catholic University of Portugal, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, Braga Regional Centre; Centre for Philosophical and Humanistic Studies
  • Mariana Marques
  • Ana Telma Pereira Institute of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • António Macedo Institute of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal; Coimbra Hospital and University Centre, Portugal


Palabras clave:

internet patterns of use, generalized problematic internet use, negative states.

Agencias Financiadoras:

This work was supported by National Funds, provided through FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) to the strategic projects PEst-OE/FIL/UI0683/2014.


Abstract: Internet use patterns, generalized problematic internet use, and the latter’s relation to psychological distress were explored in a sample of 503 university students (Mage = 20.25; SD = 2.75). A questionnaire about internet use patterns, the Generalized Problematic Internet Use Scale 2, and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales were answered. The students spent 5 hours online on a daily basis. The total generalized problematic internet use index score corresponded to a medium-risk level, with 12.9% of men and 5.0% of women presenting a high-risk level. Higher total generalized problematic internet use risk levels corresponded to higher levels of depression, anxiety and stress. Our results seem to show that university students constitute a particularly vulnerable group in terms of problematic internet use, supporting the relation between generalized problematic internet use and psychological distress.

Keywords: Internet use patterns; generalized problematic internet use; psychological distress; university students.

Patrones de uso de internet, uso problemático generalizado de internet y su relación con el distrés psicológico en estudiantes universitarios portugueses

 Resumen:  Se exploraron los patrones de uso de internet, el uso problemático generalizado de internet y su relación con el distrés psicológico en una muestra de 503 estudiantes universitarios (M = 20,25; DT = 2,75), usando la Escala de Uso de Internet Problemático Generalizado 2 y las Escalas de Depresión, Ansiedad y Estrés. Los estudiantes pasan 5 horas diarias online.  El índice total de uso problemático generalizado de internet corresponde a un riesgo medio, con un 12,9% de los hombres y un 5,0% de las mujeres presentando un nivel de riesgo alto. Los niveles superiores de riesgo de uso problemático generalizado de internet correspondieron a niveles superiores de depresión, ansiedad y estrés. Nuestros resultados parecen mostrar que los estudiantes universitarios constituyen un grupo particularmente vulnerable  en cuanto al uso de  internet y refuerzan la asociación entre el uso problemático generalizado de Internet y distrés psicológico.

Palabras clave: Patrones de uso de Internet; uso problemático generalizado de Internet; distrés psicológico; estudiantes universitarios.


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Cómo citar

Maia, B. R., Marques, M., Pereira, A. T., & Macedo, A. (2020). Internet use patterns and the relation between generalized problematic internet use and psychological distress in Portuguese university students. Revista De Psicopatología Y Psicología Clínica, 25(1), 31–39.



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