Smartphone usage cannot be used as anxiety, stress, or depression predictor according to researchers. The University of Lincoln, Lancaster University, and the University of Bath researchers say that there is no evidence linking smartphone usage and poor mental health.
Smartphone usage doesn’t cause anxiety, depression, or stress
Ranging from constantly checking social media, sleep-disturbing blue light to a continuous stream of news there are some reasons to believe extended phone usage to poor mental health. However, there is no sufficient evidence to support such a theory.
The researchers tracked 199 iPhone and 66 android users and measured the time spent on the phone in one week. They also asked the participants about their physical and mental health by completing clinical scales that measured depression and anxiety symptoms. Participants also completed a scale measuring how problematic they thought their phone usage was. Interestingly results indicated that the amount of time one spent on a phone was not associated with poor mental health.
Heather Shaw the lead author of the study indicated that daily smartphone screen time or pickups were not a predictor of stress, depression, or anxiety symptoms. Equally, those that exceeded clinical cut-off points for major depressive disorder and anxiety didn’t use their phones more compared to those below the threshold.
Worries about technology can cause poor mental health
Most importantly according to the research, smartphone usage doesn’t lead to anxiety but concerns about using one’s smartphone too much. Most of the subjects reported feeling more stressed after realizing that they have used more time than anticipated on the phone. The researchers reached the finding through the problematic use survey which asked the subjects to rate engagements like “use if smartphone longer than intended” and “having tried time and again to shorten my smartphone spend tome but failing.”
Shaw indicated that it is vital to consider the device usage and concerns of people regarding technology. This is because phone usage doesn’t show any connection with poor mental health but being worried about technology usage can lead to poor mental health.