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SEVERITY OF INTERNET USAGE AND PATHOLOGICAL INTERNET USE TRENDS AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN NAIROBI: A CASE OF MIXED SUB-COUNTY SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NAIROBI COUNTY, KENYA
Kimaru Nyaga* Ph.D., Michael Bowen, Ph.D., and Alice Munene, Psy. D.
Pathological Internet use, also referred to as Internet addiction is an emerging concept that has not been fully refined. Yet, it is increasingly becoming an issue among adolescents. The objective of this study was to evaluate the severity (level of impairment or distress) of Internet usage and PIU trends among at-risk adolescents in selected secondary schools of Dagoretti Subcounty in Nairobi, Kenya. A pretest-posttest research designed was utilized. The two theories used were motivational interviewing and transtheoretical model. A sample size of 270 for both treatment group (n=135) and control group (n= 135) was selected at 80% power and 30% effective size. The respondents were assessed using standardized psychometric tools and researcher-generated socio-economic demographic questionnaire. The adolescents included in the study were only those who had engaged in excessive Internet use. Assessments were conducted at pre-treatment and post-treatment. Respondents in the experimental group were treated with Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), while those in the control group were not subjected to any treatment. The results revealed that the severity of pathological Internet use had the highest percentage at 95.6% compared to moderate users at 4.4%. Thus, the pathological users appeared to be more significantly severe as opposed to the moderate users among the study respondents. It was predominantly higher among students aged 17-19 years, in form three, male respondents, Catholics, respondents whose mothers were self-employed, those living with biological parents, and those whose academic performance was average. Age predicted PIU (p=.000); similarly, age was a determinant of severity. Moderate and severe PIU symptoms were strongly associated with the adolescents? level of awareness, and help-seeking attitudes of adolescents. MET was found to be efficacious in reducing PIU severe symptoms (p= 000). School-based intervention approach was used in this study; further research need to focus on potential predictors of PIU such as gender, age, readiness to change and employment status of caretakers in different settings; but, pursuing the same age group. Besides, to combat PIU a comprehensive policy was recommended, to facilitate precautionary measures and encompass interventional measures to adolescents? psychosocial needs.[Full Text Article]