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Psychological and Contextual Risk Factors Related to Problematic Smartphone Use: Depression and Anxiety Symptom Severity.

1. Introduction

Problematic smartphone use can have detrimental consequences on users' social relationships. (Horwood and Anglim, 2019) Considering adolescents' rather underdeveloped impulse and discipline, in addition to their growing adoption of smartphones, psychiatric and psychological complications associated with smartphone use are extremely probable. (Kim et al., 2019) Problematic and general smartphone use frequently accompany depression, anxiety, and stress. (Elhai et al., 2017a)

2. Conceptual Framework and Literature Review

Problematic smartphone use is related to depression and anxiety symptom severity. (Elhai et al., 2019) Both problematic smartphone use and smartphone deprivation may generate health problems. (Cha and Seo, 2018) Process smartphone use substantiates links between anxiety severity and problematic smartphone use. (Elhai et al., 2017b) Dysfunctional emotion regulation may result in more process smartphone use that may generate problematic smart-phone use severity. (Rozgonjuk and Elhai, 2019) Time spent on a smartphone, meticulosity, emotional robustness, receptiveness, and age are important predictors of problematic smartphone use. (Hussain et al., 2017) Isolated individuals depend mainly on smartphone and less on unmediated communication. (Kim, 2017) Without being pathological, growing smartphone use may be a prerequisite for functional interaction. (Khoury et al., 2017)

3. Methodology and Empirical Analysis

Building my argument by drawing on data collected from Pew Research Center, I performed analyses and made estimates regarding % of adults who say the increasing use of mobile phones has had a good/no/a bad influence on education/the economy/our local culture/family cohesion/civility/politics/morality/physical health/children and % of adults who say people should be very/somewhat/not concerned about children being exposed to harmful content/identity theft/exposure to false or incorrect information/mobile phone addiction/harassment or bullying/losing the ability to communicate face-to-face when using their mobile phones. The data for this research were gathered via an online survey questionnaire and were analyzed through structural equation modeling on a sample of 4,700 respondents.

4. Results and Discussion

Negative urgency and absence of commitment have relevant positive associations with both posttraumatic stress disorder severity and problematic smart-phone use. (Contractor et al., 2017a) Individuals with problematic smartphone use display growing impulsivity, impaired attentional functions which are linked with diminished prefrontal neuronal excitability, and disordered inter-hemispheric signal distribution. (Hadar et al., 2017) Problematic smartphone use is related to adverse affect and arousal among trauma-exposed persons. (Contractor et al., 2017b) Intolerance of uncertainty (a transdiagnostic psychopathology construct indicating individual differences in behaving in unpredictable circumstances and events) and problematic smartphone use are interconnected, while non-social smartphone use may activate such a link. (Rozgonjuk et al., 2019) (Tables 1-7)

5. Conclusions and Implications

Excessive smartphone use involves diverse dysfunctional symptoms, particularly addictive and prohibited use, in addition to risky behaviors. Addictive use is associated with excessive reassurance demanded through smartphone use. (Pivetta et al., 2019) Problematic smartphone use is considerably related to process smartphone usage and somewhat to social usage. (Elhai et al., 2017c) Deficiency of social assurance (Burwell et al., 2018; Kirby et al., 2018; Lazaroiu et al., 2017; Lazaroiu, 2017; Mihaila et al., 2018; Mircica, 2017; Popescu, 2018; Zurbano-Berenguer et al., 2018) driven by problematic smartphone use is commonly not accomplished, and subsequently results in greater isolation. (Kim, 2019)

Note

The interviews were conducted online and data were weighted by five variables (age, race/ethnicity, gender, education, and geographic region) using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to reflect reliably and accurately the demographic composition of the United States. The precision of the online polls was measured using a Bayesian credibility interval.

Funding

This paper was supported by Grant GE-1475362 from the Internet-enabled Collective Intelligence Laboratory, Worcester, MA.

Author Contributions

The author confirms being the sole contributor of this work and approved it for publication.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

REFERENCES

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Sofia Bratu

sofiabratu@yahoo.com

Spiru Haret University, Bucharest, Romania

Received 20 May 2019 * Received in revised form 14 November 2019

Accepted 16 November 2019 * Available online 5 December 2019

doi:10.22381/AM1820199
Table 1 % of U.S. teens who say they have or have access to
a... at home

                              Desktop or laptop computer  Smartphone

U.S. teens                    97                          98
Boys                          98                          99
Girls                         96                          97
White                         93                          96
Black                         92                          95
Hispanic                      85                          95
Less than $30K                73                          91
$30K-$74,999                  87                          90
$75K or more                  94                          94
Parents ' level of education
High school or less           81                          93
Some college                  92                          95
College+                      93                          96

Sources: Pew Research Center; my survey among 4,700 individuals
conducted March 2019.

Table 2 % of adults who say the increasing use of mobile phones
has had... on...

                   A good influence  No influence  A bad influence

Education          65                 5            30
The economy        54                12            34
Our local culture  52                11            37
Family cohesion    61                 8            31
Civility           44                12            44
Politics           41                14            45
Morality           37                13            50
Physical health    39                16            45
Children           28                 5            67

Sources: Pew Research Center; my survey among 4,700 individuals
conducted March 2019.

Table 3 % of adults who believe it is OK or not to use a cellphone
in these situations

                                      Generally not  Generally
                                      OK             OK

While walking down the street         27             73
On public transportation              23             77
While waiting in line                 24             76
At a restaurant                       68             32
At a family dinner                    91              9
During a meeting                      96              4
At the movie theater or other places  97              3
where others are usually quiet
At church or worship service          98              2

Sources: Pew Research Center; my survey among 4,700 individuals
conducted March 2019.

Table 4 Among those who used their phones at the most recent social
gathering they attended, the % who used the phone...

Activities that added to the gathering

At least one of the activities below                           82
To post a picture or video you had taken of the gathering      42
To share something that had occurred in the group by           37
text, email, or social networking site
Because you are getting information that would be interesting
to the group                                                   34
To connect with other people who are known by the group        27
Activities that disengaged from the gathering
At least one of the activities below                           32
Because you are no longer interested in what the group
was doing                                                      14
To connect with other people who are strangers to the group    12
To avoid participating in what the group was discussing         8

Sources: Pew Research Center; my survey among 4,700 individuals
conducted March 2019.

Table 5 % of adults who say people should be very/somewhat/not
concerned about... when using their mobile phones

                                            Very       Somewhat
                                            concerned  concerned

Children being exposed to harmful content   81         16
Identity theft                              69         22
Exposure to false or incorrect information  73         17
Mobile phone addiction                      67         21
Harassment or bullying                      62         27
Losing the ability to communicate           53         30
face-to-face

                                            Not
                                            concerned

Children being exposed to harmful content    3
Identity theft                               9
Exposure to false or incorrect information  10
Mobile phone addiction                      12
Harassment or bullying                      11
Losing the ability to communicate           17
face-to-face

Sources: Pew Research Center; my survey among 4,700 individuals
conducted March 2019.

Table 6 % of cellphone owners who do these things in public with
their phones...

                                     Frequently  Occasionally

Look up information about where      38          39
you are going or how to get there
To coordinate getting                32          36
together with others
To catch up with family and friends  33          39
To catch up on other tasks           27          34
you need to accomplish
For no particular reason,            14          21
just for something to do
Get information or details about      9          21
people you are planning to see
Avoid interacting with others         4          14
who are near you

                                     Rarely  Never

Look up information about where      17       6
you are going or how to get there
To coordinate getting                28       4
together with others
To catch up with family and friends  23       5
To catch up on other tasks           32       7
you need to accomplish
For no particular reason,            57       8
just for something to do
Get information or details about     61       9
people you are planning to see
Avoid interacting with others        71      11
who are near you

Sources: Pew Research Center; my survey among 4,700 individuals
conducted March 2019.

Table 7 % of cell owners who did the following using their cellphone
during their most recent social gathering

Did at least one of these activities below    92
Read a message such as text or email          79
Took a photo or video                         68
Sent a message such as a text or email        64
Received an incoming call                     67
Checked to see if you've received any alerts  62
Placed a call                                 44
Used an app                                   36
Searched or browsed the web                   31

Sources: Pew Research Center; my survey among 4,700 individuals
conducted March 2019.
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Author:Bratu, Sofia
Publication:Analysis and Metaphysics
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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