Fatal Attractions: Attachment to Smartphones Predicts Anthropomorphic Beliefs and Dangerous Behaviors (2017)

Bodford Jessica E., Kwan Virginia S.Y., and Sobota David S..

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. May 2017, 20(5): 320-326. doi:10.1089/cyber.2016.0500.


As technology’s presence grows increasingly concrete in global societies, so too do our relationships with the devices we keep close at hand from day to day. Whereas research has, in the past, framed smartphone addiction in terms of possessional attachment, the present research hypothesizes that anxious smartphone attachment stems from human attachment, in which Anxiously attached individuals may be more likely to generalize their anxious attachment style to communication devices. In the present study, we found support for this hypothesis and showed that anxious smartphone attachment predicts (1) anthropomorphic beliefs, (2) reliance on—or “clinginess” toward—smartphones, and (3) a seemingly compulsive urge to answer one’s phone, even in dangerous situations (e.g., while driving). Taken together, we seek to provide a theoretical framework and methodological tools to identify the sources of technology attachment and those most at risk of engaging in dangerous or inappropriate behaviors as a result of attachment to ever-present mobile devices.