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Can Excessive Cellphone Use Become an Addiction?
Date:12/4/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Can an obsession with your cellphone rise to the level of an addiction? Two researchers who headed a recent study think so.

"Of course, cellphones have their merits," said study co-author James Roberts, a professor of marketing at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. "There's clearly a utilitarian value. But we're talking about something that is portable and available 24 hours a day. And like anything, if we go overboard it can become a problem."

Factors such as materialism and impulsiveness might play a big role in tipping cellphone use into an addiction, Roberts said.

"That's particularly true when we use them excessively in public," he added. "Because when we do so we're signaling that we've got this shiny object, this status symbol, our iPhone or Android or Blackberry, and that we've got important people to talk to or text, who are maybe even more important than the people right in front of us. And that we're so important that we have to talk everywhere and all the time in front of others. And all of that is an expression of materialism."

Roberts and his Seton Hall University co-author Stephen Pirog reported their findings online recently in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

The authors pointed out that cellphone use among U.S. college students now hovers over 90 percent, and studies show young adults check their phones an average of 60 times per day and send out an average of 3,200 text messages per month.

With that in mind, the research duo set out to explore the notion that there could be real cellphone addiction. They looked at responses to a survey of 191 college students, ages 19 to 38, who were enrolled in business studies at two U.S. universities.

The survey was designed to gather information regarding the participants' typical cellphone habits and how readily they could exercise control over those
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