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Absence of objective differences between self-identified addicted and healthy smartphone users?

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number3702
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Smartphones are used by billions of people worldwide. However, some psychologists have argued that use of this technology is addictive, even though little research utilises objective smartphone usage records to verify this claim. We conducted an exploratory study to identify whether behavioural differences exist between those who self-identify as addicted smartphone users and those who do not. We gathered retrospective smartphone usage data from 131 Android users and asked them about their past use to compare their perception of their usage against their actual usage. We could not identify any reliable differences between the smartphone activity of those self-identified as addicted smartphone users and other users. Furthermore, smartphone scales are generally good at identifying who believes themselves to be addicted, although they do not reflect objective smartphone use. This study questions the use of self-report measures to diagnosis behavioural addictions without relevant psychopathological constructs and emphasises the need for more rigorous study to conceptualise smartphone addiction. © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.