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

Julius Burkauskas, Naomi Fineberg, Konstantinos Ioannidis, Samuel Chamberlain, Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Inga Griskova-Bulanova, Aiste Pranckeviciene, Artemisa Dores, Irene Carvalho, Fernando Barbosa, Pierluigi Simonato, Ilaria De Luca, Rosin Mooney, Maria Gómez-Martínez, Zsolt Demetrovics, Krisztina Ábel, Attila Szabo, Hironobu Fujiwara, Mami Shibata, Alejandra Melero-VentolaEva Arroyo-Anlló, Ricardo Santos-Labrador, Kei Kobayashi, Francesco Di Carlo, Cristina Monteiro, Giovanni Martinotti, Ornella Corazza

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere8823
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH)
Issue number14
Early online date20 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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


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