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Digital Detox: The effect of smartphone abstinence on mood, anxiety, and craving

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Forthcoming
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/06/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Addictive Behaviors
Publication statusAccepted/In press
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Whether behavioural addictions should be conceptualised using a similar framework to substance-related addictions remains a topic of considerable debate. Previous literature has developed criteria, which allows any new behavioural addiction to be considered analogous to substance-related addictions. These imply that abstinence from a related object (e.g. smartphones for heavy smartphone users) would lead to mood fluctuations alongside increased levels of anxiety and craving. In a sample of smartphone users, we measured three variables (mood, anxiety, and craving) on four occasions, which included a 24-hour period of smartphone abstinence. Only craving was affected following a short period of abstinence. The results suggest that heavy smartphone usage does not fulfil the criteria required to be considered an addiction. This may have implications for other behavioural addictions.