“A cancer in the minds of youth?” A qualitative study of problematic smartphone use among undergraduate students

Yang, Z., Asbury, K. and Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, 2021. “A cancer in the minds of youth?” A qualitative study of problematic smartphone use among undergraduate students. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, pp. 934-946. ISSN 1557-1874

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There is empirical evidence to suggest that problematic smartphone use (PSU) is associated with mental health problems including anxiety in educational settings. This qualitative study explored attitudes towards - and self-reported impacts of - smartphone use among British young adult students, as well as perceived causes of PSU. Free response written accounts were gathered from 265 British undergraduates at an English university. Open-ended questions were asked about their attitudes towards smartphone use, their reasons for using their smartphones, and what they perceived as the consequences of their smartphone use. Narratives were analyzed using framework analysis and a thematic framework was identified. The three main consequences of PSU described by participants were (1) uncontrolled frequent checking of smartphones, (2) using smartphones late at night, and irrelevant use of smartphones in class. The main reported explanations for PSU were fear of missing messages, boredom in class, poor self-regulation, and external reasons (e.g., boring lectures). Smartphone use was reported to have both positive and negative impacts on young adults’ life satisfaction, social relationships, physical health, and study. Many participants reported that they need to develop better self-regulation to address their PSU. Findings suggest that smartphone use can have benefits as well as potentially causing harm among university students. PSU can - in some cases - be understood as reflecting mental well-being issues, poor self-regulation, and social problems.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Creators: Yang, Z., Asbury, K. and Griffiths, M.D.
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Date: August 2021
ISSN: 1557-1874
Rights: © The Author(s) 2019. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 23 Dec 2019 14:11
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2021 15:12
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/38906

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