DEPRESSION AND EXCESSIVE USE OF INTERNET AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE AND ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES
According to the National Authority for Persons with Disabilities, in 2017 there were 791.761 Romanians with disabilities. Disability is a dynamic construct, outlined at the interplay between medical impairments, personal factors and social and environmental barriers that impede equal chances and normal participation in the community. The goal of the current study is to catch a glimpse into internet usage among people with disabilities. Internet of Things comes as a valuable asset in helping them connect with others and increase own quality of life. Nevertheless, its excessive use may interfere with daily activities and/or signal other problems. Our research focuses on depression and its possible connection to four defining features of internet overuse: lack of control, tolerance, abstinence problems and consequences on everyday functioning. We gathered cross-sectional data from a sample of 113 Romanians with rare diseases and intellectual, sensorial, physical, and associate disabilities (M age =33.99; SD=12.23 years). To operationalize depression and internet overuse we applied two self-report questionnaires: BDI (Beck, Steer & Brown, 1996) and IOS (Jenaro et al., 2007). The association between depression and internet overuse was not statistically significant. The effect sizes were small (r1=.11, r2=.13, r3=.07, r4=.05). Furthermore, we computed the contingency table for the relationship between internet addiction/non-addiction and depressed/non-depressed categories. The result of the chi-square test was also not statistically significant (χ2(1)=2.32; phi=-.14ns). Understanding internet usage among people with disabilities can be useful in planning targeted health interventions. Therefore, we encourage further research using more homogenous Romanian samples in terms of disability type and age.
Keywords: depression, internet, disabilities.
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