Look out, because the next Internet-based disorder is on its way — “Internet anxiety.”

A study in the upcoming May 2007 issue of Computers in Human Behavior investigated the relationship between Internet identification, Internet anxiety and Internet use. According to the study, the participants were 446 students (319 females and 127 males) from two universities in the UK and one university in Australia. Measures of Internet identification and Internet anxiety were developed.

Happily, the researchers reported that most students in the study were not anxious about using the Internet. I can’t imagine why anyone of student age would be anxious about using the Internet. But they did find 8% who met their criteria of “Internet anxiety.” Those who showed “Internet anxiety” also stayed away from using the Internet, not surpisingly. It’s not unlike those who are afraid of heights staying away from tall buildings, or those who are afraid of terrorists staying away from people who are carrying automatic weapons wearing bandanas.

The study also found that men identify with the Internet more than women, and that people who identify with the Internet spend more time using it. It’s kind of like, when you identify with some music, you go out and buy the album and listen to it more than people who don’t like the same kind of music. Astounding, no?

No.

Reference: Joiner, R. & Colleagues (2007). The relationship between Internet identification, Internet anxiety and Internet use. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(3), May 2007. pp. 1408-1420.