The relationship between smartphone addiction and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity in South Korean adolescents (2019)

Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 9;18:1. doi: 10.1186/s12991-019-0224-8

Kim SG1,2, Park J3, Kim HT4, Pan Z2,5, Lee Y2,5, McIntyre RS2,5,6.



Excessive smartphone use has been associated with numerous psychiatric disorders. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of smartphone addiction and its association with depression, anxiety, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in a large sample of Korean adolescents.


A total of 4512 (2034 males and 2478 females) middle- and high-school students in South Korea were included in this study. Subjects were asked to complete a self-reported questionnaire, including measures of the Korean Smartphone Addiction Scale (SAS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and Conners-Wells’ Adolescent Self-Report Scale (CASS). Smartphone addiction and non-addiction groups were defined using SAS score of 42 as a cut-off. The data were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression analyses.


338 subjects (7.5%) were categorized to the addiction group. Total SAS score was positively correlated with total CASS score, BDI score, BAI score, female sex, smoking, and alcohol use. Using multivariate logistic regression analyses, the odds ratio of ADHD group compared to the non-ADHD group for smartphone addiction was 6.43, the highest among all variables (95% CI 4.60-9.00).


Our findings indicate that ADHD may be a significant risk factor for developing smartphone addiction. The neurobiological substrates subserving smartphone addiction may provide insights on to both shared and discrete mechanisms with other brain-based disorders.

PMID: 30899316

PMCID: PMC6408841

DOI: 10.1186/s12991-019-0224-8

Free PMC Article