Problematic Internet use and Risk of Eating Disorders Among Slovak Female University Students
1Pavol Jozef Safarik University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Educational Psychology and Health Psychology, Kosice, Slovak Republic
2Pavol Jozef Safarik University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Psychology, Kosice, Slovak Republic,
Background: There are numerous studies exploring eating disorders (ED) in association with substance use. However, few studies have focused on the associations between ED and problematic internet use (PIU). Aims: (1) to explore the differences in PIU between female students at risk and those not at risk of ED and (2) to specify which ED indicators are the most important in relation to PIU. Methods: The sample size consisted of 453 Slovak female university students (average age 19.68, SD=1.56). The respondents completed a screening tool for detecting ED (SCOFF) and the PIU questionnaire (GPIUS 2) online. Mann-Whitney U tests were used for data analysis. Findings: The results revealed (1) significant differences in PIU between those at risk and those not at risk of ED, with more PIU for those at risk and (2) an analysis on the level of individual indicators showed that a higher PIU was found if these indicators were present: control over eating, body image distortion and impact of food on life. Discussion: The results support and contribute to previous studies and can be applied to prevention strategies of ED and PIU.