1. In this systematic review, 6 of the 11 reviewed studies found that religiosity was associated with lower levels of internet addiction (IA).

2. Additionally, 2 of 3 studies examining internet gaming addiction found that religiosity was a protective factor.

Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)

Internet addiction (IA) is a growing concern that has been associated with several consequences such as mood disorders, personality changes, and decreased social interactions. There has been research into the association between religiosity and vulnerability to addiction. However, there is a lack of understanding of how religiosity/spirituality might affect IA specifically. As a result, the objective of the present systematic review was to evaluate the association between internet addiction and religiosity or spirituality.

Of 854 identified records, 13 (range n=97 to 11,956) observational studies that were conducted on adolescents and adults in various countries between 2012 and 2021 were included. Studies were included if there were measures to assess religiosity or spirituality, different types of IA, and the association between the two. Studies were excluded if they did not distinguish between online and offline gambling and if they only included individuals who reportedly belonged to a religion. The quality of the studies was assessed using the Appraisal tool for Cross-Sectional Studies (AXIS) and the systematic review was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines. The primary outcome was the association between religiosity and IA.

There were 11 studies that specifically looked at the association between religiosity and IA. Of these, 6 studies described an inverse association between religiosity and IA. However, 3 studies found no association, and 1 study described a positive correlation between religiosity and IA. Additionally, 2 of the 3 studies that looked at internet gaming addiction found an inverse relationship between religiosity and internet gaming rates. However, the study was limited by the different tools used to measure religiosity and IA among the included studies, which prevented the use of a quantitative meta-analysis. Nonetheless, this study provides evidence to suggest that religiosity may be a protective factor against IA.

Click to read the study in Frontiers in Public Health

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