Computers in Human Behavior

4.4.2. Gender and Internet activity

Using the total IAT score and the scores of the three IAT factors as dependent variables, a 2 x 7 multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed to test for significant score differences between genders and in terms of seven types of Internet activity.

4.3. Interpretation of the factors

On the basis of this validated factor model, the analysis proceeded to examine the content of the 18 IAT items, which then resulted in assigning the labels “Withdrawal and Social Problems”, “Time Management and Performance”, and “Reality Substitute” to the three factors respectively.

Factor 1, “Withdrawal and Social Problems”, captures one’s degree of moodiness or difficulties when constrained to be away from the Internet (e.g., “Q20: How often do you feel depressed, moody or nervous when you are offline, which goes away once you are back online?”). This factor also includes items focusing on interpersonal problems due to Internet use (e.g., “Q13: How often do you snap, yell, or act annoyed if someone bothers you while you are online?”).

Factor 2, “Time Management and Performance” involves the degree of compulsive Internet use and one’s failure to control or reduce the amount of time spent online (e.g., “Q17: How often do you try to cut down the amount of time you spend online and fail?”). It also covers academic (or, by extension, work) performance problems (e.g., “Q6: How often do your grades or school work suffer because of the amount of time you spend online?”).

Factor 3, “Reality Substitute” mainly describes the extent to which an individual regards the Internet environment as another reality and over-depends on it for relieving real-life problems (e.g., “Q12: How often do you fear that life without the Internet would be boring, empty, and joyless?”).

The aggregated item scores from the refined IAT instrument represent a person’s overall Internet addiction level while the summed item score for each factor reflects the severity of addictive behavior in the corresponding area. Both the total IAT score and factor scores were then further analyzed.

4.4. Internet addiction and other criterion variables

The scores of the three extracted factors and the total IAT score were used to analyze the relationship between the dimensions of Internet addiction and the criterion variables previously discussed.

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