Smartphone use and self-control impairment

Published: 9 March 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/3s33tfd87m.1
Rosa Angela Fabio


Excessive use of smartphones has been associated with a number of negative consequences for individuals. Some of these consequences relate to many symptoms of behavioral addictions. The present study aims to investigate whether participants with high levels of smartphone addiction may have difficulty with their ability to wield the self-control that is needed to restrict smartphone use compared to participants with lower levels of smartphone addiction. Specifically, we expect that people with high levels of smartphone addiction may have problems in refraining from using a smartphone. In addition, we expect people with a high level of smartphone addiction may show deficiencies in cognitive tasks such as memory, executive control, and visual and auditory attention. An ABA design was used to analyze the effects of smartphone withdrawal. The first A refers to baseline measurements: Visual RT, Auditory RT, Go/No-Go RT and N-Back RT and Eriksen flanker RT. The B refers to 3-days of smartphone withdrawal, the second A refers to the same measurements used in the baseline. In addition, several standardized scales were administered, among them: Smartphone addiction scale-short version (SAS-SV), Fear of missing out scale (FoMOs), Procrastination scale, Psychological General Well-Being Index. One hundred and one participants took part in the study. Based on median split they were divided into two groups: high levels of smartphone addiction and low levels of smartphone addiction. Moreover, thanks to an app installed on the participant's smartphone, it was possible to measure levels of compliance with the task. Results indicate that participants with low levels of smartphone addiction show less difficulty in their ability to wield the self-control needed to withdraw smartphone use and faster reaction times on cognitive tests than participants with high levels of smartphone dependence. Moreover, the profile of participants with high levels of smartphone addiction shows higher scores on the FoMOs and Procrastination scale, and lower scores in the Psychological General Well-Being Index. The results are discussed in light of self-regulation theory.


Steps to reproduce

An ABA procedure was applied, with assessment pre and post smartphone withdrawal


Universita degli Studi di Messina


Addiction, Smartphone Usage in Tourism