Journal of Public Health

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 545–551 | Cite as

Problematic mobile phone use in adolescence: a cross-sectional study

  • Giovanni Martinotti
  • Corrado Villella
  • Domitilla Di Thiene
  • Marco Di Nicola
  • Pietro Bria
  • Gianluigi Conte
  • Maria Cassano
  • Filippo Petruccelli
  • Nicola Corvasce
  • Luigi Janiri
  • Giuseppe La Torre
Original Article



In recent years, mobile phone use has become increasingly common among Italian youth, while a growing scientific literature has been identifying the occurrence of a problematic mobile phone use which seems to share some features of other conditions often referred to as behavioural addictions. The study aimed to assess the prevalence of problematic mobile phone use in a population of Italian adolescents and its association with other behavioural addictions.

Subjects and methods

The Mobile Addiction Test (MAT) was administered to 2,790 high school students from Barletta, an Italian town, together with the South Oaks Gambling Screen-Revised for Adolescents (SOGS-RA), the Compulsive Buying Scale (CBS), the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), the Exercise Addiction Inventory (EAI), the Work Addiction Risk Test (WART).


MAT scores fitted a Gaussian distribution model. Scores ≥ 17 was found as a cut-off value over which identifying problematic mobile phone users. Overall prevalence of problematic mobile phone use was 6.3%; this condition was associated with other behavioural addictions like compulsive buying.


Problematic mobile phone use in adolescence should become a public health issue, and it could be a cause of health problems and social costs.


Adolescence Behavioural addictions Information and communication technologies Mobile phones 




Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study protocol complied fully with the guidelines of the Ethics Committee of the Catholic University of Rome, and was approved by the Institutional Review Boards in accordance with local requirements. It was conducted in accordance with Good Clinical Practice guidelines and the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Martinotti
    • 1
  • Corrado Villella
    • 1
  • Domitilla Di Thiene
    • 2
  • Marco Di Nicola
    • 1
  • Pietro Bria
    • 1
  • Gianluigi Conte
    • 1
  • Maria Cassano
    • 3
  • Filippo Petruccelli
    • 4
  • Nicola Corvasce
    • 3
  • Luigi Janiri
    • 1
  • Giuseppe La Torre
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Psychiatry and PsychologyUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuoreRomeItaly
  2. 2.Sapienza University of Rome, Clinical Medicine and Public Health UnitRomeItaly
  3. 3.Local Health Unit, Drug Addiction ServiceBarlettaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of CassinoCassinoItaly

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