Available data indicate that the frequency of Problematic Smartphone Use (PSU) has been increasing over the years. Although there is some debate as to whether or not this behavior corresponds to true addiction, comorbidity has been found with problematic outcomes typically related to traditional addictions. Thus, there is interest in better understanding which individual variables interact with this behavior. The present study uses a large sex-balanced sample covering a wide age range to shed light on this question. The main purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between personality, assessed by Zuckerman's alternative five-factor model, and PSU. The possible mediating role of individual decision-making styles as well as the effect of sociodemographic variables such as age, sex, and social position are also investigated. The results indicated a strong association between Aggressiveness, Neuroticism, and, to a lesser extent, Sensation Seeking with PSU. The decision-making styles that were most related to the problematic use of smartphones were Avoidant and Spontaneous. Neuroticism, Sensation Seeking, and Aggression explained 24% of the variance of the PSU measure. Only Avoidant showed some incremental validity for this model. However, a mediation analysis by structural equation modeling revealed generally significant indirect effects for Avoidant and Spontaneous, explaining part of the effect of personality on the factor assessed by the PSU measure. The percentage of variance explained for latent scores ranged from 20-32%. The practical implications of the study and future research directions are discussed.
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The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
In the past, researchers have used different terms for the mobile phone, such as cellular phone or cellphone. In this study we will use the term smartphone.
Nomophobia is an abbreviation of the expression “no mobile phone phobia”. This term refers to the uncontrollable fear of leaving home without one’s mobile phone or running out of battery (Yildirim & Correia, 2015).
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This research was funded by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry, and Competitiveness (PID2019-103981RB-I00).
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Urieta, P., Sorrel, M.A., Aluja, A. et al. Exploring the relationship between personality, decision-making styles, and problematic smartphone use. Curr Psychol 42, 14250–14267 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-022-02731-w