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Critical Research Article Evaluation


Over the past few decades, internet or social media usage becomes one of the most common and considerable topic, which has significant relationship with the cognitive developmental stages of the young population. Although internet usage is required for surviving in the current progressive life and for understanding the current consequences occurred in the entire world; however, extreme dependency on the internet-based approaches can lead to the development of mental imbalance state. Most of the people belong to young population now undergo through the phase of internet addiction, due to which around 80% of them become victims of social anxiety or anxiousness. Besides this, it is also evident that young people often undergoes through the phase of emotional distress as well as cognitive impairment, while dealing with the stages of social anxiety disorder. Understanding of the symptoms, occurrences, frequency level, and consequences of social anxiety disorder (SAD), is crucial, as it is one of the considerable psychological issues of current population. The essay focuses on the critical evaluation of a recent journal article, named ‘Internet addiction is associated with social anxiety in young adults’, for understanding the above mentioned psychological aspects of social anxiety disorder.



Recent epidemiological studies represent the fact that social anxiety disorder can be enlisted as the third significant psychological disorder. At present time, around 7% of the current population becomes affected due to the occurrence of various types of social anxiety disorder. Apart from this, it is also proved that the rate of lifetime prevalence associated with social anxiety disorder is around 14% (What is Social Anxiety?, 2017). As mentioned earlier, social anxiety-disorder includes a number of emotional distresses, such as fear of negligence, rejection, or other social performances. At this viewpoint, it can be assumed that internet addiction accelerates the issued areas related with the Social Anxiety Disorder.

The article aims to highlight the co-relationship between these two variables, which internet addiction and social anxiety level, especially among the young population, as the young generation is the most common victim of social media or internet applications. Apart from this, some other objectives of this research study were understanding the relationship between social anxiety and internet addiction, determining the difference regarding the addiction-based behaviour among male and female, and preferences of addicted people of using social media sites compared to other internet applications (Weinstein et al. 2015).

In this article, Weinstein et al. (2015) mentioned that the extreme addicted behaviour towards internet is known as Problematic Internet Use or PIU. The PIU is based on some specific characteristics, such as absence of properly controlled pre-occupations, behavioural aspects, and urges of using computers or internet applications. The study represents that excessive usage of internet can cause mental impairment or increase the distress level of the affected people, due to which the personal and professional lives of people become challenging. For investigation of this aspect and the associated factors having direct or indirect relationship with social anxiety disorder, the researchers of this research project have focused on incorporating primary data collection process. As per the statement of Meena et al. (2015), the primary data collection and analysis, process is helpful for maintaining the authenticity and validity of the research study, and along with this, through the primary data collection process, researchers become able to acquire data from a larger group of population.

In this case, the research study had been conducted over 2 sample groups, in each group, 60 participants had been included. The study had also been performed as male and female participant groups, who were selected from the university student groups. The researchers had divided the entire research process into two distinct divisions; both of the study processes included 120 participants. The first study was based on the frequencies of internet usage and the second study highlighted the scores of Internet Addiction Test of the selected higher and lower SAD participants. In the first study, it was proved that the participants complete different types of activities on internet, such as social networking, study, working, emails, playing games, and so on. Besides this, the researcher(s) had also evaluated some of the other demographic or psychographic factors, such as employment status, educational level, marital status, and birthplace (Weinstein et al. 2015).

The researchers incorporated demographic questionnaire for the involved participants, in order to determine their demographic characteristics as mentioned above. Apart from this, the Young Internet Addiction Test or IAT had also been followed in this research, through which the researcher(s) would evaluate 20 compulsive measuring items, based on a scale of 1 (never) to 6 (very much). The IRB-Helsinki Committee of the selected university had given the ethical approval. Similar to the first part of this study, in the second part, all of the 120 participants had been included along with the demographic questionnaire and IAT score tests. In case of the first test, the Cronbach’s value was α = 0.927 whereas in the second study process, the Cronbach’s value was α = 0.88. According to the valuation of the two Cronbach’s alpha values, the internal consistency of the two variables had been measured (Enez Darcin et al. 2016).

The researcher(s) had evaluated the two hypothesis of the current research study. In case of the first hypothesis, the correlation between the social anxiety and internet addiction had been depicted, through which a positive moderate level of co-relation between the two variables was proved (based on the Pearson co-relation). In case of the men participants, it was positive moderate co-relation whereas in case of the women participants, it was the positive weak co-relation among the given variables. Apart from this, through analysing the second hypothesis, it was proved that men are more addicted towards internet usage compared to women. However, based on the critical evaluation part according to the results of T-test, the researcher(s) did not found any differences among men and women about the usage of internet. On the contradictory viewpoint, based on a study of Zlot et al. (2018), it can be stated that there is significant differences among the percentage of internet usage in men and women, especially in case of the young and middle-aged people.

In order to understand the research outcomes more appropriately, the researcher(s) had also categorised the participants into further two groups, which were high SAD and low SAD groups. Through the research study, the researcher(s) also had analysed the differences among IAT scores between high and low social anxiety scores. Based on the findings of this research, it can be mentioned that the research study highlights main three findings through evaluation of the participants’ responses. Like the statement given by Ostovar et al. (2016), it had also been proved in this research that in case of internet usage, sex difference might be ignored, as internet-addiction does not have any direct or indirect relationship with gender differences. The research study also represents that positive moderate or weak level co-relation is present between the social anxiety and internet addiction. However, it had also been proved as if the previous one conducted by Andreassen et al. (2016), that internet addicted people do not only focus on application of social media sites.

As per the research findings, in case of male participants, problematic internet use or PIU level had direct connection with several psychological aspects, such as fear, depression, and anxiety. By supporting the evaluation of Blackwell et al. (2017), co-relationship between excessive internet usage and poor social skills had been proved through these research findings. Apart from this, based on the group of high and low social anxiety groups categorised among the participants, it had been proved that the adolescent age group young people are the major victims of internet addiction, which leads to the development of social anxiety.

As influenced by the statements of Wolniewicz et al. (2018), the researcher(s) had also provided their attention on identifying several characteristics of the internet addicted people, such as more neurotic, socially anxious, lonely, and less extraverted. Through supporting the findings of Roberts, Pullig & Manolis (2015), the study highlights that people who are much lonely or facing absence of confidence level, often become the easiest victims of internet. The less confident and introvert people likes online or social media communication instead of face-to-face social interaction. Additionally, it is also proved that students undergo through the critical phases of compulsive internet application and behaviours, and due to the state of loneliness, they become more dependent on the social interactions, instead of resolving their original life issues.

However, Mannarini & Boffo (2015) argued that in a research study conducted in Midwestern United States, it was revealed that internet usage helps in becoming social and feeling comfortable during the communication with others. Apart from this, the study has also depicted that introvert people often get support from the usage of internet as they can understand the process of self-disclosure while socialisation through the internet applications. However, based on this research study, it can be depicted that using internet as the alternative of social interaction is considered as one of the symptom of social anxiety disorder. This is often related with the behaviours of suppressing identity, as the mentally depressed young adults often do not want to express their original identifications in front of the other people, and this anonymity can be maintained by the application of internet.

In a research study of Taiwan, Lai et al. (2015) stated that internet addiction is also related with the fondness of computer games, which is mainly observed among the younger adults, especially among the teenaged boys and girls. Through this current study, this research statement is supported as the study represents that video games or computer games create a world of virtual reality around the affected people, by which they can easily avoid the real life interactions and requirements. As mentioned earlier, as it is already proved that introvert people most likely use social media platforms for communicating with their virtual friends and vice-versa. The study proves that extreme addiction to internet applications can also make people introvert and reduce their ability of face-to-face interaction, which might increase their fear as well as anxiety level. The study also depicts that social isolation might be caused by the extreme usage of internet, which can be considered as the progressive stage of social anxiety.

In a study conducted by Stavropoulos et al. (2017), it has been proved that Korean males generally have greater internet addiction than the Korean females, through which the sex differences regarding internet addiction and social isolation can be proved. This viewpoint opposed to the findings of this study. Similar results have also been obtained from the studies conducted on the Iran and Pakistan students, and it had been proved that the extreme level of internet addiction affects their academic activity level. Based on the findings of Fayazi & Hasani (2017), it can be stated that the sex differences among male and female regarding internet addiction is due to the variations among their cultural and behavioural aspects. The studies suggest that men are more vulnerable than female due to their bold, assertive, and tough characters, which could not be proved in the current research study. However, the sex differences associated with the two variables might vary from one region to another according to the demographic factors.



Based on the entire critical evaluation part, it can be concluded that a moderate positive relationship is present between the two given variables of this study topic. Although the study findings state that sex difference is not associated with internet addiction and social anxiety disorder, however, there are some limitations. For example, the sample size of this study was excessively small, which might not be sufficient for understanding exact co-relation among the given variables or the presence of sex differences. Besides this, since the study only included university students, therefore, it might not represent the outcomes according to the general adult population. Clinicians still have some area of confusions and controversies regarding this psychiatric disorder. Therefore, it can be stated that this research article provides enough evidence and authentic information about the research topic; however, further researches are required for evaluating the reciprocal relationship among the presence of internet addiction and development of social anxiety disorder in the current society.

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