J Nurs Res. 2020 Jan 16. doi: 10.1097/jnr.0000000000000370
The use of smartphones among young people is quite common. However, smartphones are associated with negative effects when used excessively. It has been reported that smartphone use may adversely affect learning in the classroom, cause safety issues, and negatively affect interpersonal communications.
The aims of this study were to determine the level of smartphone addiction among nursing and medical school students and to examine the effect of smartphone addiction level on communication skills.
This cross-sectional study was conducted with medical school and nursing students at a public university (502 participants). Data were collected using a personal information form, the Smartphone Addiction Scale-Short Version (SAS-SV), and the Communication Skills Assessment Scale.
All of the participants in the study owned smartphones. Most (70.9%) were female, and 58.2% were in the nursing program. The participants used smartphones for a mean time of 5.07 ± 3.32 hours a day, primarily for messaging. The mean total SAS-SV score for the participants was 31.89 ± 9.90, and a significant difference in SAS-SV mean scores was found with regard to the variables of department, gender, daily smartphone use duration, academic success, status regarding smartphone use in the classroom, participation in sports, easy communication with patients and relatives, preferred mode of communication, health problems tied to phone use, and injury status (p < .05). In addition, a positive weak-to-moderate relationship was found between SAS-SV mean scores and the variables of daily smartphone use duration and years of smartphone use, whereas a negative weak relationship was found between SAS-SV mean scores and Communication Skills Assessment Scale scores. Daily smartphone use duration was found to be the most important predictor of smartphone addiction.
CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:
Higher SAS-SV scores have a negative impact on interpersonal communication and social life and reduce learning efficacy in students. Therefore, students and lecturers should be better informed regarding the benefits and risks of smartphone use in education, with precautions provided against excessive and needless use.