Problematic Mobile Phone Use and Addiction Across Generations: the Roles of Psychopathological Symptoms and Smartphone Use (2018)

J Technol Behav Sci. 2018;3(3):141-149. doi: 10.1007/s41347-017-0041-3.

Kuss DJ1, Kanjo E1, Crook-Rumsey M1, Kibowski F1, Wang GY2, Sumich A1.


Contemporary technological advances have led to a significant increase in using mobile technologies. Recent research has pointed to potential problems as a consequence of mobile overuse, including addiction, financial problems, dangerous use (i.e. whilst driving) and prohibited use (i.e. use in forbidden areas). The aim of this study is to extend previous findings regarding the predictive power of psychopathological symptoms (depression, anxiety and stress), mobile phone use (i.e. calls, SMS, time spent on the phone, as well as the engagement in specific smartphone activities) across Generations X and Y on problematic mobile phone use in a sample of 273 adults. Findings revealed prohibited use and dependence were predicted by calls/day, time on the phone and using social media. Only for dependent mobile phone use (rather than prohibited), stress appeared as significant. Using social media and anxiety significantly predicted belonging to Generation Y, with calls per day predicted belonging to Generation X. This finding suggests Generation Y are more likely to use asynchronous social media-based communication, whereas Generation X engage more in synchronous communication. The findings have implications for prevention and awareness-raising efforts of possibly problematic mobile phone use for educators, parents and individuals, particularly including dependence and prohibited use.

KEYWORDS: Anxiety; Depression; Generation X; Generation Y; Problematic mobile phone use; Psychopathology; Smartphone addiction; Stress

PMID: 30238057

PMCID: PMC6133055

DOI: 10.1007/s41347-017-0041-3