Volume 26, Issue 1 (Winter 2019)                   Intern Med Today 2019, 26(1): 38-53 | Back to browse issues page

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Piri Z, Amiri Majd M, Bazzazian S, Ghamari M. The Mediating Role of Coping Strategies in the Relationship of Difficulties in Emotion Regulation With Internet Addiction Among College Students. Intern Med Today 2019; 26 (1) :38-53
URL: http://imtj.gmu.ac.ir/article-1-3262-en.html
1- Department of Counseling, Faculty of Humanities, Abhar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abhar, Iran.
2- Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities, Abhar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abhar, Iran. , amirimajd@abhariau.ac.ir
3- Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities, Abhar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abhar, Iran.
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1. Introduction

oday, the use of the Internet is an important part of everyday life for many people, especially students, for educational and entertainment purposes [1]. The Internet provides valuable services for many people, but Internet Addiction (IA) or the pathological use of the Internet as an individual’s inability to control use of the Internet, can causes psychological, social, educational, or occupational problems in one’s life [2]. People with IA use the Internet too much, which often leads to wasted time and neglect of work, reducing time spent with family and friends, and psychological well-being [3], and cause weaker self-esteem [4], decreased mental health [5], increased loneliness and depression [6], impulsivity, sensitivity and social isolation [7]. Excessive use of the Internet is a form of behavioral addiction, [8] which can cause serious educational and family problems for students. Due to the increasing use of the Internet in Iran, especially among young people and the low number of studies that have examined the possible mediating variables between Difficulties in Emotion Regulation (DER) and IA, this study aimed to examine the mediating role of coping strategies in the relationship between DER and IA among college students.

2. Materials and Methods

This is a descriptive-correlational study. The study population consisted of all students (Undergraduate, graduate and post- graduate) of Islamic Azad University of Karaj Branch in 2018 (n=34000). Of these, 375 were selected using a convenience sampling method. Data were collected using the Coping Responses Inventory with 32 items rated on a 4-point Likert scale designed by Billings and Moss [10], Internet Addiction Test with 20 items designed by Young [11], and the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale with 36 items designed by Gratz and Roemer [12].

3. Results

Results showed a significant relationship between DER and maladaptive coping strategy (P<0.05, r=0.527), between IA and maladaptive coping strategy (P<0.05, r=0.386), and between DER (except for lack of emotional awareness) and IA (P<0.05, r=0.548) (Table 1).

Moreover, hierarchical regression analysis results showed that maladaptive coping strategy was the mediator of the relationship between DER and IA (Table 2).

4. Discussion

The results of the present study showed that there was a significant and positive relationship between the variables of DER (except for lack of emotional awareness) and IA. So DER plays an important role in IA of college students. Other studies have shown that the use of the Internet increases by having more difficulties in regulating emotions [13], and there is a positive and significant relationship between DER and maladaptive coping style [14]. These are consistent with our results. When a person is disturbed, a maladaptive coping strategy can lead to adverse conditions that cause negative emotions. In this case, people spend their time on the Internet to escape negative emotions [15]. People with IA are less likely to use the problem-focused coping strategy [16-17]. The results of our study and other studies [18-20] suggested a lack of a significant relationship between the problem- focused coping strategy and IA.

To improve emotion regulation skills of college students, it is suggested that emotion regulation training be included as an essential component in various treatments, such as emotion-focused therapy [21], acceptance-based therapy, mindfulness therapy, and emotion regulation therapy [22], as well as coping skills training [23] to increase the student’s well-being. One of the limitations of this study was the use of self-report tools and hence, that the questionnaires may not be answered accurately. Due to using a convenience sampling technique, the generalization of the results to other universities should be done with caution.

5. Conclusion

Maladaptive coping strategy could mediate the relationship between DER and IA among college students. DER had a positive impact on maladaptive coping strategy of students, which could increase their IA.

Ethical Considerations

Compliance with ethical guidelines

According to the letter no.19/25/1876 from Zanjan University of Medical Sciences and based on methodology, this study needs no ethical approval.


This study was extracted from the PhD. dissertation of the first author Department of Counseling, Faculty of Humanities, Abhar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Abhar.

Authors' contributions

All authors contributed in preparing this article.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declared no conflict of interest.


The authors would like to thank the Deputy for Research and students of Islamic Azad University of Karaj Branch for their support and cooperation.



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Type of Study: Original | Subject: Mental Health
Received: 2019/04/8 | Accepted: 2020/01/3 | Published: 2020/01/1

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