Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Aug 28;16(17). pii: E3142. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16173142.
Prior work has suggested that individuals with deficits in emotion regulation skills are prone to compulsive behaviour and to following maladaptive coping strategies, such as smartphone overuse, to manage negative moods. Adolescence is a vulnerable developmental stage for deficits in emotion regulation, and these are linked to excessive smartphone use. The present study is the first to examine the links between the use of specific cognitive emotion regulation (CER) strategies and problematic smartphone use in a sample of adolescents. A total of 845 Spanish adolescents (455 females) completed the Spanish versions of the Cognitive Emotion Regulation Questionnaire and the Smartphone Addiction Scale, along with a socio-demographic survey. The adolescents were divided into two groups: Non-problematic smartphone users (n = 491, 58.1%) and problematic smartphone users (n = 354, 41.9%). Significant group differences were found, with the problematic users reporting significantly higher scores for all maladaptive CER strategies, including higher self-blame, rumination, blaming of others and catastrophising. The results from logistic regression analyses show that rumination, catastrophising and blaming of others were the most important variables for distinguishing between the two groups, along with gender and parental control outside the home. In summary, these findings suggest the importance of specific maladaptive CER strategies in problematic smartphone use and provide insight for relevant targets for intervention designs.
KEYWORDS: adolescence; cognitive emotion regulation; coping profile; mobile phone usage; problematic smartphone use