Main Article Content

Catharina Candussi
Madhini Sivasubramanian
Ali Davod Parsa
Russell Kabir


cross-sectional study, problematic smartphone usage, smartphone addiction, university students, England


 BACKGROUND: The popularity of smartphones and their excessive usage led to the introduction
of the term problematic smartphone use (PSU). Whereby PSU can lead to various negative mental
and physical consequences.
AIM: This study aims to investigate prevalence and patterns of PSU among nursing and public health
students at the University of Sunderland in London (UoSiL).
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out between June and September 2022 utilising a
pre-validated questionnaire.
RESULTS: A total of 262 students participated in this study consisting of 195 females and 67 males.
The overall prevalence of PSU was 46.6%, whereby a positive correlation between young age and
PSU (r = 0.152, r2 = 0.23, α = 0.014) could be found. Furthermore, a significant association between
daily hours spent on smartphones and PSU (p < 0.002) with a positive correlation for higher numbers
of daily smartphone usage (r = 0.253, r2 = 0.064, p < 0.001) was seen. Also, significant results were
calculated focusing on social media with a higher possibility for PSU in students using mostly TikTok
or Facebook compared to those who mainly used Twitter or Instagram. Students who did not use
social media at all had the smallest risk for PSU.
CONCLUSION: A high prevalence of PSU among university students was seen. Young age and a
high number spent on phones were discovered as predictive factors. It is important to raise awareness
among students and conduct future longitudinal studies to get a better understanding of causal

Abstract 153 | pdf Downloads 90


1. Campbell-Kelly M, Garcia-Swartz DD. From mainframes to Smartphones. From Mainframes to Smartphones: Harvard University Press; 2015.
2. O'Dea S. Number of smartphone subscriptions worldwide from 2016 to 2027: Statista; 2022 [updated 23/02/2022. Available from:
3. O'Dea S. Penetration rate of smartphones in selected countries 2021: Statista; 2022 [updated 30/03/2021. Available from:
4. Deloitte. Global Mobile Consumer Survey 2018: The UK Cut 2018 [Available from:
5. Lepp A, Barkley JE, Karpinski AC. The relationship between cell phone use, academic performance, anxiety, and Satisfaction with Life in college students. Computers in Human Behavior. 2014;31:343-50.
6. Woodcock B, Middleton A, Nortcliffe A. Considering the Smartphone Learner: an investigation into student interest in the use of personal technology to enhance their learning. Student Engagement and Experience Journal. 2012;1(1):1-15.
7. Cheever NA, Rosen LD, Carrier LM, Chavez A. Out of sight is not out of mind: The impact of restricting wireless mobile device use on anxiety levels among low, moderate and high users. Computers in Human Behavior. 2014;37:290-7.
8. Clayton RB, Leshner G, Almond A. The extended iSelf: The impact of iPhone separation on cognition, emotion, and physiology. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 2015;20(2):119-35.
9. Elhai JD, Dvorak RD, Levine JC, Hall BJ. Problematic smartphone use: A conceptual overview and systematic review of relations with anxiety and depression psychopathology. J Affect Disord. 2017;207:251-9.
10. Alhassan AA, Alqadhib EM, Taha NW, Alahmari RA, Salam M, Almutairi AF. The relationship between addiction to smartphone usage and depression among adults: a cross sectional study. BMC Psychiatry. 2018;18(1):148.
11. Yang J, Fu X, Liao X, Li Y. Association of problematic smartphone use with poor sleep quality, depression, and anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychiatry Res. 2020;284:112686.
12. Baabdullah A, Bokhary D, Kabli Y, Saggaf O, Daiwali M, Hamdi A. The association between smartphone addiction and thumb/wrist pain: A cross-sectional study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020;99(10):e19124.
13. Foreman J, Salim AT, Praveen A, Fonseka D, Ting DSW, Guang He M, et al. Association between digital smart device use and myopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Digit Health. 2021;3(12):e806-e18.
14. Merlo LJ, Stone AM, Bibbey A. Measuring Problematic Mobile Phone Use: Development and Preliminary Psychometric Properties of the PUMP Scale. J Addict. 2013;2013:912807.
15. Choliz M. Mobile-phone addiction in adolescence: the test of mobile phone dependence (TMD). Progress in health sciences. 2012;2(1):33-44.
16. Annoni AM, Petrocchi S, Camerini AL, Marciano L. The Relationship between Social Anxiety, Smartphone Use, Dispositional Trust, and Problematic Smartphone Use: A Moderated Mediation Model. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(5).
17. Eichenberg C, Schott M, Schroiff A. Comparison of Students With and Without Problematic Smartphone Use in Light of Attachment Style. Front Psychiatry. 2019;10:681.
18. De Pasquale C, Sciacca F, Hichy Z. Italian validation of smartphone addiction scale short version for adolescents and young adults (SAS-SV). Psychology. 2017;8(10):1513-8.
19. Andrade ALM, Scatena A, Martins GDG, Pinheiro BdO, Becker da Silva A, Enes CC, et al. Validation of smartphone addiction scale – Short version (SAS-SV) in Brazilian adolescents. Addictive Behaviors. 2020;110:106540.
20. Haug S, Castro RP, Kwon M, Filler A, Kowatsch T, Schaub MP. Smartphone use and smartphone addiction among young people in Switzerland. J Behav Addict. 2015;4(4):299-307.
21. Kwon M, Lee JY, Won WY, Park JW, Min JA, Hahn C, et al. Development and validation of a smartphone addiction scale (SAS). PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56936.
22. Zhong Y, Ma H, Liang YF, Liao CJ, Zhang CC, Jiang WJ. Prevalence of smartphone addiction among Asian medical students: A meta-analysis of multinational observational studies. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2022;68(6):1171-83.
23. Alageel AA, Alyahya RA, A Bahatheq Y, Alzunaydi NA, Alghamdi RA, Alrahili NM, et al. Smartphone addiction and associated factors among postgraduate students in an Arabic sample: a cross-sectional study. BMC psychiatry. 2021;21(1):302.
24. Dharmadhikari SP, Harshe SD, Bhide PP. Prevalence and Correlates of Excessive Smartphone Use among Medical Students: A Cross-sectional Study. Indian J Psychol Med. 2019;41(6):549-55.
25. Serra G, Lo Scalzo L, Giuffrè M, Ferrara P, Corsello G. Smartphone use and addiction during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: cohort study on 184 Italian children and adolescents. Italian Journal of Pediatrics. 2021;47(1):150.
26. Chen B, Liu F, Ding S, Ying X, Wang L, Wen Y. Gender differences in factors associated with smartphone addiction: a cross-sectional study among medical college students. BMC Psychiatry. 2017;17(1):341.
27. Çağan Ö, Ünsal A, Çelik N. Evaluation of college students’ the level of addiction to cellular phone and investigation on the relationsship between the addiction and the level of depression. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2014;114:831-9.
28. Okasha T, Saad A, Ibrahim I, Elhabiby M, Khalil S, Morsy M. Prevalence of smartphone addiction and its correlates in a sample of Egyptian university students. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 2021;68(8):1580-8.
29. Wang A, Wang Z, Zhu Y, Shi X. The Prevalence and Psychosocial Factors of Problematic Smartphone Use Among Chinese College Students: A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study. Front Psychol. 2022;13:877277.
30. Dixit S, Shukla H, Bhagwat A, Bindal A, Goyal A, Zaidi AK, et al. A study to evaluate mobile phone dependence among students of a medical college and associated hospital of central India. Indian J Community Med. 2010;35(2):339-41.
31. Aljomaa SS, Al.Qudah MF, Albursan IS, Bakhiet SF, Abduljabbar AS. Smartphone addiction among university students in the light of some variables. Computers in Human Behavior. 2016;61:155-64.
32. Demirci K, Akgönül M, Akpinar A. Relationship of smartphone use severity with sleep quality, depression, and anxiety in university students. J Behav Addict. 2015;4(2):85-92.
33. Kim Y, Jeong JE, Cho H, Jung DJ, Kwak M, Rho MJ, et al. Personality Factors Predicting Smartphone Addiction Predisposition: Behavioral Inhibition and Activation Systems, Impulsivity, and Self-Control. PLoS One. 2016;11(8):e0159788.
34. Sahin S, Ozdemir K, Unsal A, Temiz N. Evaluation of mobile phone addiction level and sleep quality in university students. Pak J Med Sci. 2013;29(4):913-8.
35. Matar Boumosleh J, Jaalouk D. Depression, anxiety, and smartphone addiction in university students- A cross sectional study. PLoS One. 2017;12(8):e0182239.
36. Alotaibi MS, Fox M, Coman R, Ratan ZA, Hosseinzadeh H. Smartphone Addiction Prevalence and Its Association on Academic Performance, Physical Health, and Mental Well-Being among University Students in Umm Al-Qura University (UQU), Saudi Arabia. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(6).
37. Karki S, Singh JP, Paudel G, Khatiwada S, Timilsina S. How addicted are newly admitted undergraduate medical students to smartphones?: a cross-sectional study from Chitwan medical college, Nepal. BMC Psychiatry. 2020;20(1):95.
38. Gökçearslan Ş, Mumcu FK, Haşlaman T, Çevik YD. Modelling smartphone addiction: The role of smartphone usage, self-regulation, general self-efficacy and cyberloafing in university students. Computers in Human Behavior. 2016;63:639-49.
39. Lee M, Han M, Pak J. Analysis of behavioral characteristics of smartphone addiction using data mining. Applied Sciences. 2018;8(7):1191.
40. Lin Y-H, Lin Y-C, Lee Y-H, Lin P-H, Lin S-H, Chang L-R, et al. Time distortion associated with smartphone addiction: Identifying smartphone addiction via a mobile application (App). Journal of psychiatric research. 2015;65:139-45.
41. Aljomaa SS, Qudah MFA, Albursan IS, Bakhiet SF, Abduljabbar AS. Smartphone addiction among university students in the light of some variables. Computers in Human Behavior. 2016;61:155-64.
42. Al-Mohaimeed A, Alharbi M, Mahmud I. Prevalence and Associated Factors of Problematic Use of Smartphones Among Adults in Qassim, Saudi Arabia: Cross-sectional Survey. JMIR Public Health Surveill. 2022;8(5):e37451.
43. Laurence PG, Busin Y, da Cunha Lima HS, Macedo EC. Predictors of problematic smartphone use among university students. Psicol Reflex Crit. 2020;33(1):8.