This semester, Kathryn Lyle ’17 and Juliana Heffern ’17 worked under the direction of Associate Professor of Psychology Jamie Bodenlos studying the relationship between Internet addiction, mindfulness and health in college students.
Through an online survey previously completed by 353 HWS students, Lyle and Heffern measured the daily use of technology in addition to various psychological factors. Their findings concluded that about 93% of the people who took the survey had minor indications of Internet addiction, whereas 7% had more moderate symptoms. As Lyle and Heffern were able to predict beforehand, they found that Internet addiction was correlated to poorer health and lower levels of mindfulness within the college student sample.
To begin the study, Lyle and Heffern sought other recent and relevant scholarship while assisting Bodenlos in writing the introduction and various sections of the literature for the study. They discovered that similar studies have not yet been published.
Both students recognized the importance behind the research and study, and appreciated the contribution that this particular analysis will have on the discipline they are working within. “This experience as a research assistant has given me an inside look on the process of drafting an article and collaborating with multiple authors,” says Lyle.
Heffern, a psychology major and international relations minor, says she developed confidence in her abilities. “I gained tremendous insight on the psychology research process, which requires a great deal of creativity, analysis, writing and editing,” Heffern says.
Bodenlos believes the research findings could lead to the development of interventions that could help improve the health of college students and others. “Using mindfulness based interventions may be a way to affect their health,” Bodenlos says. This summer, students will assist Bodenlos in expanding the research by conducting the study with older adult populations.