Alone and lonely? How physical and perceived isolation can lead to problematic internet use

Zhang Hao Goh, Edson C. Tandoc, Vanessa Xinyi Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although physical isolation measures can stem the spread of COVID-19, they can also heighten individuals’ perceived isolation and feeling of loneliness, resulting in problematic internet use (PIU). However, studies have rarely investigated both the effects of physical and perceived isolation on PIU. Given the widespread availability and accessibility of digital communication technologies, it is difficult to conclude that the former may necessitate the latter inducing PIU. Using a two-wave longitudinal national survey in Singapore (n = 689), this study found that, at Time 1, both physical and perceived social isolation have direct and independent effects on internet users’ preference for online social interaction (POSI), driving PIU. This, in turn, leads to their experience of negative outcomes at Time 2. The results highlight the importance of considering the independent effects of physical and perceived isolation in affecting POSI leading to PIU.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • ICT
  • Social isolation
  • cognition
  • loneliness
  • physical isolation
  • problematic internet use

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Alone and lonely? How physical and perceived isolation can lead to problematic internet use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this