Mobile device addiction to depression and anxiety: Study

ISLAMABAD: A study from the University of Illinois finds that high engagement with mobile technology is linked to anxiety and depression in college-age students.

“There’s a long history of the public fearing new technologies as they are deployed in society,” said psychology professor Alejandro Lleras, Health News reported.

This fear of new technology happened with televisions, video games and most recently, smartphones, he said. With the growth of mobile technology and the accompanying concern about its mental health implications, the researchers wanted to explore the connection between these information and communication technologies and psychological well-being.

Lleras and Panova surveyed over 300 university students with questionnaires that addressed the students’ mental health, level and manner of cellphone and Internet use, and motivations for turning to their electronic devices.

Using these technologies for escapism was found to have a relationship with higher depression and anxiety scores.

However, the researchers found no relationship between cellphone or Internet use and negative mental health outcomes among participants who used these technologies to avoid being bored.

Thus, the motivation for going online is an important factor in relating technology usage to depression and anxiety, Lleras said.

Breaking intensive technology-use habits may provide an important supplemental treatment for addressing mental health issues such as general anxiety disorder or depression, he said.