Kristjan Vassil, PhD, University of Tartu
Karin Täht, PhD, University of Tartu
Christian Montag, PhD, Ulm University, Germany
Concerns regarding excessive smartphone use related aspects have been raised over the past years. Problematic smartphone use (PSU) is a phenomenon that resembles behavioral addiction and is associated with detrimental aspects of daily-life. It has been shown that PSU is related with various psychopathologies and poorer academic outcomes.
There are several unexplored questions in the field of PSU research that I aimed to address in the current doctoral dissertation. For instance: how is self-reported PSU associated with objectively measured smartphone use? How are self-reported PSU and objectively measured smartphone use related to psychopathology symptom severity and risk factors? Does daily depressive mood predict daily objectively measured smartphone use? Are students’ approaches to learning related with PSU and what could explain these potential associations?
In Study 1 we found that self-reported PSU was associated with objectively measured screen time, but not phone-checking frequency. Although depression and anxiety symptom severity were associated with self-reported PSU, these constructs did not correlate with objectively measured smartphone use. Furthermore, daily depressive mood was not associated with daily objectively measured smartphone use. In Study 2 we found that students with more PSU also had more surface and less deep approach to learning. More frequent social media use in lectures could explain that relationship. In Study 3 we found that trait procrastination may drive more frequent social media use in lectures, potentially resulting in more PSU. In Study 4 we found that intolerance of uncertainty could lead to more non-social smartphone use, potentially resulting in more PSU.
In conclusion, self-reported PSU is partially associated with objectively measured smartphone use, psychopathology risk factors, and approaches to learning that are, in turn, linked to poorer academic outcomes.