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Online Behaviours during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Their Associations with Psychological Factors: An International Exploratory Study.

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Fineberg, Naomi A 
Ioannidis, Konstantinos 
Chamberlain, Samuel R 
Bowden-Jones, Henrietta 


This cross-sectional study aimed to explore specific online behaviours and their association with a range of underlying psychological and other behavioural factors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight countries (Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Portugal, Japan, Hungary, and Brazil) participated in an international investigation involving 2223 participants (M = 33 years old; SD = 11), 70% of whom were females. Participants were surveyed for specific type of Internet use severity, appearance anxiety, self-compassion, and image and use of performance-enhancing drugs (IPEDs). Results were compared cross-culturally. The mean time spent online was 5 h (SD = ±3) of daily browsing during the pandemic. The most commonly performed activities included social networking, streaming, and general surfing. A strong association between these online behaviours and appearance anxiety, self-compassion, and IPEDs use was found after adjustment for possible confounders, with higher scores being associated with specific online activities. Significant cross-cultural differences also emerged in terms of the amount of time spent online during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.



problematic usage of the Internet, appearance anxiety, COVID-19 pandemic, mental illness, self-compassion

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Int J Environ Res Public Health

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European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST Action CA16207 “European Network for Problematic Usage of the Internet”)
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (UIDB/05210/2020)