THURSDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Compulsively checking your smartphone may not actually be that smart, British researchers warn.
The cautionary observation stems from a new study that finds an association between the increasingly popular use of Web-enabled cellphones and a rise in stress levels.
The reason: a relentless need to immediately review and respond to each and every incoming message, alert or bing.
Surprisingly, however, investigators did not link stress to the professional use of smartphones for work purposes. Rather, it's the personal use of such devices, to keep tabs on friendships and social networking "news," that is the culprit.
"Smartphones are being used more and more to help people cope with different aspects of their life," said study author Richard Balding, a psychologist in the department of psychology at the University of Worcester, in England. "But the more they're being used the more we're actually becoming a bit dependent upon them, and actually courting stress instead of relieving it."
Balding and his colleagues are slated to present their findings Thursday at a meeting of the British Psychological Society in Chester, England.
To explore how the use of iPhones, Androids, Blackberries and other similar hand-held devices may elevate stress, Balding and his team conducted psychometric stress tests among more than 100 participants, including university students, retail workers and public-sector employees.
All were also asked to complete a survey regarding their phone use.
The authors found that people typically first acquire such phones to better manage their work obligations. In turn, however, they noted that users eventually end up sliding into more personal smartphone interactions, eschewing work-related usage in favor of wanting to maintain control of one's virtual social network.
As this pattern of use takes fli
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