The relationship between addiction to smartphone usage and depression among adults: a cross sectional study (2018)

BMC Psychiatry. 2018 May 25;18(1):148. doi: 10.1186/s12888-018-1745-4.

Alhassan AA1, Alqadhib EM1, Taha NW1, Alahmari RA2, Salam M3, Almutairi AF4.



Addiction to smartphone usage is a common worldwide problem among adults, which might negatively affect their wellbeing. This study investigated the prevalence and factors associated with smartphone addiction and depression among a Middle Eastern population.


This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2017 using a web-based questionnaire distributed via social media. Responses to the Smartphone Addiction Scale – Short version (10-items) were rated on a 6-point Likert scale, and their percentage mean score (PMS) was commuted. Responses to Beck’s Depression Inventory (20-items) were summated (range 0-60); their mean score (MS) was commuted and categorized. Higher scores indicated higher levels of addiction and depression. Factors associated with these outcomes were identified using descriptive and regression analyses. Statistical significance was set at P < 0.05.


Complete questionnaires were 935/1120 (83.5%), of which 619 (66.2%) were females and 316 (33.8%) were males. The mean ± standard deviation of their age was 31.7 ± 11  years. Majority of participants obtained university education 766 (81.9%), while 169 (18.1%) had school education. The PMS of addiction was 50.2 ± 20.3, and MS of depression was 13.6 ± 10.0. A significant positive linear relationship was present between smart phone addiction and depression (y = 39.2 + 0.8×; P < 0.001). Significantly higher smartphone addiction scores were associated with younger age users, (β = - 0.203, adj. P = 0.004). Factors associated with higher depression scores were school educated users (β = - 2.03, adj. P = 0.01) compared to the university educated group and users with higher smart phone addiction scores (β =0.194, adj. P < 0.001).


The positive correlation between smartphone addiction and depression is alarming. Reasonable usage of smart phones is advised, especially among younger adults and less educated users who could be at higher risk of depression.

KEYWORDS: Age; Depression; Education; Middle East; Smartphone addiction

PMID: 29801442

PMCID: PMC5970452

DOI: 10.1186/s12888-018-1745-4