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

habits.

At the same time, impulsive and/or materialistic tendencies were assessed to see to what degree those traits might help drive cellphone usage.

To gauge impulsiveness, respondents were asked (among other things) how much they exercised self-control, responsibility, restraint and rationality when making decisions, as opposed to giving in to careless, extravagant and/or high-rolling behavior. Materialism was similarly scored in terms of the value they said they placed on buying, owning or acquiring nice or valuable objects.

The result: Based on the survey responses, the team determined that cellphone use, at least among college-age students, did appear to be driven by both materialistic and impulsive tendencies, with those scoring highest in either quality being more likely to excessively use their mobile device.

Why? According to the researchers, for many people cellphones become "conspicuous artifacts of acquisition" and "fashion statements." People who are materialistic may view their cellphones as public signifiers of status and/or power -- above and beyond their mere usefulness as a communication device.

For example, the team observed that materialism seemed more of a factor behind the drive to pick up a cellphone and place a phone call, as opposed to merely sending a text message. This, they said, could be because the act of calling is typically more conspicuous than the act of texting.

By contrast, those who tend to be impulsive seem to be driven to both call and text excessively. In the latter instance, the authors suggested that the impulsive user's need to do something quickly and repeatedly seems to be easily pacified when texting.

Roberts and Pirog noted that impulsiveness of this kind is a well-known component of both behavior and substance addictions. This led the pair to conclude that an excessive drive to call and/or text can be viewed as similar to other behavioral addictions, such as gambling, compul
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