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The Impact of Smartphone Use on the Psychosocial Wellness of College Students

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Digital Transformation and Global Society (DTGS 2018)


Researchers suggest that excessive smartphone use is correlated with negative psychosocial effects, particularly among younger adults—causing feelings of isolation, depression/anxiety, and restlessness. This pilot study on psychosocial wellness, of 22 college students—measured the impact of smartphone use on emotion/mood, dependency, addiction, purpose of life, social communications, and self-consciousness. For our data analysis, we measured frequency with conversion percentages (of 35 questions) using a seven-point Likert-scale of strongly disagree- to-strongly agree, while averaging the scores of each question group pertaining to each hypothesis. While only 22% agreed they were addicted to smartphone use, 68% reported constantly checking their smartphone, with 57% agreeing that they were smartphone dependent. The majority agreed that smartphone use increased anxiety, stress, and feelings of impatience, if their phone was not with them. While the majority agreed that the smartphone is their primary means of communication, 90% agreed that nothing is more fun than using their smartphone.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the student work of Alexandra Dirico, University of Illinois at Chicago, for her contribution in the development of this paper.

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Correspondence to Anthony Faiola .

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A Appendix

A Appendix

List of research questions provided participants according to topics, with responses according to a seven-point Likert scale.

Emotion and Mood

  1. 1.

    I am able to get rid of stress while using my smartphone.

  2. 2.

    I feel impatient and fretful when I am not holding my smartphone.

  3. 3.

    I sometimes become irritated while using my smartphone.

  4. 4.

    Not having my phone in my possession (at home/outside home) makes me feel nervous/anxious.

  5. 5.

    I feel pleasant or excited while using my smartphone.

  6. 6.

    I feel calm while using my smartphone.

  7. 7.

    Using my smartphone allows me to be more in touch with my feelings.

  8. 8.

    I become depressed or sad if I am not able to use my smartphone.


  1. 9.

    Having my smartphone with me at all times gives me the feeling of safety and security.

  2. 10.

    I feel more comfortable using my smartphone for communication as opposed to other forms of communication.

  3. 11.

    It is very difficult to consider my daily life without having my smartphone.

  4. 12.

    I use my smartphone each day longer than I had intended.

  5. 13.

    I often consider that I should shorten my smartphone use.

  6. 14.

    I feel I waste time when I am on my smartphone more than necessary.

  7. 15.

    I feel I am more in control when using my smartphone.


  1. 16.

    I believe I am addicted or have an abnormal dependency on my smartphone.

  2. 17.

    I feel the urge to use my smartphone again immediately after I stopped using it.

  3. 18.

    I cannot bear the thought of not having my smartphone with me at all times.

  4. 19.

    Regardless of the circumstances around me, I would never give up the use of my smartphone.

  5. 20.

    Not being able to use my smartphone would be as painful as losing a friend.

  6. 21.

    I miss planned or anticipated work or responsibilities due to smartphone use.

  7. 22.

    I have my smartphone (and using it) on my mind even when I’m not using it.

Purpose of Life

  1. 23.

    I feel that the use of my smartphone gives greater value to my life.

  2. 24.

    I believe there is nothing more fun to do than use my smartphone.

  3. 25.

    Without my smartphone, I believe I could not be successful in the world.

Social Communications

  1. 26.

    I constantly check my smartphone so I will not miss communication between other people via email, text, Twitter or Facebook, etc.

  2. 27.

    I check social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook right after waking up in the morning or right before going to bed at night.

  3. 28.

    I prefer searching for information that I need by using my smartphone rather than asking people in real time.


  1. 29.

    It is hard for me to talk on my smartphone when I think others are watching me.

  2. 30.

    I feel nervous when I am talking on my smartphone in public.

  3. 31.

    I pay attention to my inner feelings when I am using my smartphone.

  4. 32.

    Using my smartphone makes me less aware of my close surroundings.

  5. 33.

    I am often unaware if I am speaking too loudly on my smartphone when I am in public.

  6. 34.

    I often lose track of time when I am using my smartphone.

  7. 35.

    When I am on my smartphone, my attention is only focused on it.

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Faiola, A., Vatani, H., Srinivas, P. (2018). The Impact of Smartphone Use on the Psychosocial Wellness of College Students. In: Alexandrov, D., Boukhanovsky, A., Chugunov, A., Kabanov, Y., Koltsova, O. (eds) Digital Transformation and Global Society. DTGS 2018. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 859. Springer, Cham.

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