Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2019 Aug 29. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2019.0130.
Smartphone abuse and the associated consequences have been intensely studied. However, little attention has been given to the group of people who have a smartphone and yet barely use it. One might think that they are at the opposite end of abuse, both behaviorally and in relation to the consequences. This study aims to establish sociodemographic variables and health indicators for smartphone nonusers. A population survey through random stratified sampling in a large city (Madrid, Spain) obtained 6,820 people between 15 and 65 years who own a smartphone. About 7.5 percent (n = 511) stated they do not use their smartphone regularly. This group comprised more of men than of women with a higher mean age, underprivileged social class, residence in less-developed districts, and a lower education level. They showed worse mental health indicators, lower perceived quality of life relating to their health, more sedentarism, and greater tendency toward being overweight/obese and a higher feeling of loneliness. When looking at all these variables together, the regression model showed that in addition to sex, age, social class, and education level, the only significantly associated health indicator was a feeling of loneliness. Mobile phone abuse is associated with health problems, but nonregular use does not reflect the opposite. It is important to study the group of nonusers and explore the reasons and related consequences, particularly the role of perceived loneliness, which is paradoxical as a smartphone is a tool that can foster interpersonal contact.
KEYWORDS: health-related quality of life; loneliness; mental health; mobile addiction; mobile nonusers