Stephanie Budhan ‘21
Smartphone addiction refers to the excessive use of one’s smartphone while engaged in other activities such as studying, driving, and social gatherings, and this can have a negative long- term impact of an individual’s thoughts and behaviors. More specifically, excessive smartphone use is considered a risk factor for the development of depression and anxiety disorders. Females are more likely than males to develop a smartphone addiction due to their desire to maintain social relationships via their smartphone. One of the limitations of the many studies that investigated the correlation between smartphone use and development of depression is that all of these studies were conducted in specific, and therefore limited populations. Therefore, the current study sought to study this correlation in a diverse region of the Middle East with many different ethnic, linguistic, regional, socioeconomic, and national identities.
This study was conducted via a web- based survey. The survey was shared across several social media platforms, thereby maximizing the diversity in and representativeness of the sample. The survey was composed of a smartphone addiction assessment tool as well as self-reported depression scale that are widely sued in literature. The total sample size was 935 individuals. In this study, researchers indeed found a strong positive relationship between smartphone addiction and depression. It seemed that excessive smart phone use may serve as a factor in mediating depression; individuals who experience unhealthy eating and sleep disturbance, predisposing factors of depression, may compensate for these factors through higher smartphone use. Younger, less educated, and low income individuals were found to be more depressed and these findings were consistent with those in previous studies. Although this study looks promising, the researchers admit that the self- report surveys used to assess addiction may be less accurate than a face to face diagnosis, and so, this type of study should be considered moving forward.
- A. Alhassan, et. al., The relationship between addiction to smartphone usage and depression among adults: a cross sectional study. TBMC Psychiatry 18, 1-8 (2018). doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1745-4
- Image retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikemacmarketing/36212534755