Health

Smartphone addiction is related to a multitude of mental problems

Smartphone addiction is related to un a large number of psychological problems, from cognitive deficits to emotional disorders. That is the conclusion of a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Most of the population in industrialized countries have smartphones. The fear of being left without them is known as “nomophobia” and it has become a social problem. Research shows that people who are addicted to smartphones tend to live more in solitude and experiencing emotional self-regulation deficitshe. Also, people who are addicted to smartphones are prone to experience withdrawal symptoms when their use is restricted.

Smartphone addiction is related to lower cognitive abilities, less self-control and worse psychological well-being

Smartphone addiction is related to lower cognitive abilities, less self-control and worse psychological well-being

That’s what the researchers have discovered. Rosa Fabio, Alessia Stracuzzi and Riccardo Lo Farointerested in investigating the relationship between the use of smartphones and behavioral and cognitive self-control deficits.

Fabio and his colleagues recruited 111 participants, with ages between 18 and 65 years. 28% of the participants were university students and 78% were workers. The phone data of each participant was retrieved through the “SocialStatsApp”, which provides information on the use of TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

A standard smartphone addiction test was used to determine each participant’s risk of addiction and its severity. Those studied also responded to the items of the short version of the Index of General Psychological Well-being, the Fear of Missing Out Scale and the Procrastination Scale.

This study consisted of three phases: a pre-test phase, an experimental phase, and a post-test phase. In the pre-test phase, Fabio and his colleagues evaluated each participant’s initial use of their smartphone through SocialStatsApp. In the experimental phase, the participants were instructed to limit the use of their smartphones to one hour a day for three consecutive days. For the post-test phase, participants were allowed to use their smartphones as they pleased for seven consecutive days.

The day before and the day after the experimental phase, Participants were tested for working memory, attention, executive control, auditory reaction time, visual reaction time, motor response inhibition ability, and behavioral inhibition.

The results show that participants who had higher levels of smartphone addiction had a higher percentage of noncompliance. Participants with higher levels of smartphone addiction spent more time using their phones in all three phases, even when instructed to limit their smartphone use during the experimental phase.

The results also show that participants with higher levels of smartphone addiction tended to show poorer working memory, visual reaction time, auditory reaction time, motor response inhibition ability, and behavior inhibition compared to participants with lower levels of smartphone addiction.

There were no significant differences in the performance of these measures for each participant between the pre-test phase and the post-test phase. Finally, heParticipants with higher levels of smartphone addiction scored lower on the General Well-Being Index psychological and higher on the fear of missing out scale and on the procrastination scale.

Fabio and his colleagues argue that their findings show that people with high levels of smartphone addiction show less self-control. Poor self-regulation could have negative consequences in people’s daily lives, such as deficiencies in cognitive tasks and slower reaction times. The researchers further state that people with lower levels of smartphone addiction have a better perception of their general well-being and quality of life, taking into account that these participants showed fewer procrastination behaviors and less fear of being left out.

A limitation of this study is that some of the original participants dropped out of the study when they learned they would have to limit their smartphone use to one hour a day for three consecutive days, so data is missing for people with likely very high levels of smartphone addiction. Fabio and his colleagues recommend that future research study people with high levels of addiction to smartphones and their withdrawal effects.

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