PLoS One. 2019 Jan 7;14(1):e0210294. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210294.
Despite the pervasive use of smartphones among university students, there is still a dearth of research examining the association between smartphone use and psychological well-being among this population. The current study addresses this research gap by investigating the relationship between smartphone use and psychological well-being among university students in Thailand.
This cross-sectional study was conducted from January to March 2018 among university students aged 18-24 years from the largest university in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The primary outcome was psychological well-being, and was assessed using the Flourishing Scale. Smartphone use, the primary independent variable, was measured by five items which had been adapted from the eight-item Young Diagnostic Questionnaire for Internet Addiction. All scores above the median value were defined as being indicative of excessive smartphone use.
Out of the 800 respondents, 405 (50.6%) were women. In all, 366 (45.8%) students were categorized as being excessive users of smartphones. Students with excessive use of smartphones had lower scores the psychological well-being than those who did not use smartphone excessively (B = -1.60; P < 0.001). Female students had scores for psychological well-being that were, on average, 1.24 points higher than the scores of male students (P < 0.001).
This study provides some of the first insights into the negative association between excessive smartphone use and the psychological well-being of university students. Strategies designed to promote healthy smartphone use could positively impact the psychological well-being of students.