Exploring the dimensions of smartphone distraction: development, validation, measurement invariance, and latent mean differences of the smartphone distraction scale (SDS)

Throuvala, M.A. ORCID: 0000-0003-4617-5263, Pontes, H.M. ORCID: 0000-0001-8020-7623, Tsaousis, I., Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, Rennoldson, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7131-8740 and Kuss, D.J. ORCID: 0000-0001-8917-782X, 2021. Exploring the dimensions of smartphone distraction: development, validation, measurement invariance, and latent mean differences of the smartphone distraction scale (SDS). Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12: 642634. ISSN 1664-0640

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Background: Distraction is a functional emotion regulation strategy utilized to relieve emotional distress. Within the attention economy perspective, distraction is increasingly associated with digital technology use, performance impairments and interference with higher-order cognitive processes. Research on smartphone distraction and its association with problematic smartphone use is still scarce and there is no available psychometric assessment tool to assess this cognitive and emotive process parsimoniously.

Method: The present study reports the development and evaluation of the psychometric properties of the Smartphone Distraction Scale (SDS) through exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, construct validity, gender invariance, and latent mean differences. The study was conducted in a sample of British university students (N = 1,001; M = 21.10 years, SD = 2.77).

Results: The 16-item SDS was best conceptualized in a four-factor model solution comprising attention impulsiveness, online vigilance, emotion regulation, and multitasking. Construct validity was established using relevant psychosocial and mental health measures, with SDS scores being moderately associated with deficient self-regulation and problematic social media use. Gender measurement invariance was achieved at the configural, metric, and scalar levels, and latent mean differences indicated that females had significantly higher means than males across all four SDS latent factors.

Discussion: The SDS presents with several strengths, including its theoretical grounding, relatively short length, and sound psychometric properties. The SDS enables the assessment of distraction, which appears to be one of the pathways to problematic smartphone use facilitating overuse and overreliance on smartphones for emotion regulation processes. The assessment of distraction in relation to problematic use in vulnerable populations may facilitate interventions that could encourage metacognition and benefit these groups by allowing sustained productivity in an increasingly disrupted work and social environment.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Frontiers in Psychiatry
Creators: Throuvala, M.A., Pontes, H.M., Tsaousis, I., Griffiths, M.D., Rennoldson, M. and Kuss, D.J.
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Date: 8 March 2021
Volume: 12
ISSN: 1664-0640
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 25 Mar 2021 10:53
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:05
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/42582

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