PhD Scientific Days 2024

Budapest, 9-10 July 2024

Health Sciences II.

Relationship between Smartphone Use, Mental Health, and Personality among Young Adults


Johanna Takács1, Beáta Seregély2
1: Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University
2: Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University

Text of the abstract

Introduction: Nearly 94% of young adults in the world use smartphones (SU), thus it has become important for research to examine the effects of SU on mental health and the brain, which is mostly negative but can also be positive. Positive effects can be related to individual differences such as type of SU, mental health and personality, among others.
Aims: We aimed to examine the characteristics of SU and the associations between SU and mental health among young adults using multiple linear regression (MLR) and mediation/moderation models.
Methods: Young adults aged 18 and 35 were recruited (M=23.8, SD=4.3), 60% female. Usage time (UT), type of SU, problematic smartphone use (PSU), sleep quality (SQ), fear-of-missing-out (FOMO), self-control (SC), behavioural activation (BAS), inhibition (BIS), and neuroticism (NE) were measured via an online survey.
Result: Young adults spend an average of 3 to 4 hours on their smartphones each day, using mostly social networking sites, messaging with friends (89%), and scrolling through news feeds (60%). 88% also use their phones for online entertainment (86%) and workplace/school tasks (86%). UT showed a small negative correlation with age. The final MLR model explained 46.7% of the PSU variation (R2=0.467,p<0.001). SC (p=0.002,β=-0.296), NE (p<0.001,β=0.409) and UT (p=0.001,β=0.297) predicted PSU. The mediation analysis, examining the mediating effect of FOMO on NE and PSU, resulted in a significant total effect (b=0.20[0.13;0.27],p<0.001) and direct effect (b=0.16[0.09;0.23],p<0.001). A significant indirect effect was also found (b=0.11[0.03;0.20]), suggesting that FOMO partially mediated the relationship between NE and PSU. PSU is also related to poor SQ (r=0.405,p<0.001) and BIS (r=0.318,p=0.003), which was associated with NE (r=0.712,p<0.001).
Conclusion: The findings suggest that UT, SC and NE are potential predictive factors for PSU, which can be associated with mental health issues. FOMO is an important mediator in the relationship between NE and PSU. For future studies, examining the effect of SU on cognitive functioning, it is suggested to include the mediating/moderating effect of mental health and personality factors.
Funding: Supported by the ÚNKP-23-4-II-SE-30 New National Excellence Program of the Ministry for Culture and Innovation from the source of the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund.