Aim: Research on the adverse effects of Internet use has gained importance recently. However, there is currently insufficient data on Japanese young adults’ Internet use, so we conducted a survey targeting Japanese university students to research problematic Internet use (PIU). We also investigated the relationship between PIU and multiple psychiatric symptoms. Methods: A paper-based survey was conducted at five universities in Japan. Respondents were asked to fill out self-report scales regarding their Internet dependency using the Internet Addiction Test (IAT). Sleep quality, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tendency, depression, and anxiety symptom data were also collected based on respective self-reports. Results: There were 1336 responses and 1258 were included in the analysis. The mean IAT score (± SD) was 37.87 ± 12.59; and 38.2% of participants were classified as PIU, and 61.8% as non-PIU. The trend level for young women showed that they were more likely to be classified as PIU than young men (40.6% and 35.2% respectively, P = 0.05). Compared to the non-PIU group, the PIU group used the Internet longer (P < 0.001), had significantly lower sleep quality (P < 0.001), had stronger ADHD tendencies (P < 0.001), had higher Depression scores (P < 0.001), and had higher Trait-Anxiety scores (P < 0.001). Based on multiple logistic regression analyses, the factors that contributed to an increased risk of PIU were: being female (odds ratio [OR] = 1.52), being older (OR = 1.17), having poor sleep quality (OR = 1.52), having ADHD tendencies (OR = 2.70), having depression (OR = 2.24), and having anxiety tendencies (OR = 1.43). Conclusion: We found a high PIU prevalence among Japanese young adults. The factors that predicted PIU were: female sex, older age, poor sleep quality, ADHD tendencies, depression, and anxiety.
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