Prevalence and Pattern of Phantom Ringing and Phantom Vibration among Medical Interns and their Relationship with Smartphone Use and Perceived Stress (2018)

Indian J Psychol Med. 2018 Sep-Oct;40(5):440-445. doi: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_141_18.

Mangot AG1, Murthy VS1, Kshirsagar SV1, Deshmukh AH1, Tembe DV1.



Phantom sensations like phantom vibration (PV) and phantom ringing (PR)- the sensations of vibration and ringing of the phone when they are not, respectively-are among the latest in the category of “techno-pathology” to receive global attention. This study was conducted with the aim to estimate the prevalence of such sensations among medical interns and their association with perceived stress levels and smartphone usage pattern.

Materials and Methods:

Ninety-three medical interns using smartphone were recruited for the study. Data were collected anonymously using semi-structured questionnaire, perceived stress scale (PSS), and smartphone addiction scale-short version (SAS-SV). Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square test, independent t-test, ANOVA, and Pearson’s correlation coefficient.


Fifty-nine percent students had a high level of stress, whereas 40% had problematic smartphone use. Sixty percent students experienced PV, whereas 42% experienced PR and both were significantly associated with higher frequency of phone use and the use of vibration mode. Mean SAS-SV score was significantly lower in students who did not perceive PR/PV, whereas mean PSS score was significantly lower in students who did not perceive PV.


This study confirms findings from other national and international researches about the experience of cell phone phantom sensations and their relationship with the pattern of phone use and stress level. It also brings to light high levels of stress and problematic smartphone use among medical students during the internship.

KEYWORDS: India; phantom; ringing; smartphone; stress; vibration

PMID: 30275619

PMCID: PMC6149296

DOI: 10.4103/IJPSYM.IJPSYM_141_18

Free PMC Article