The relationship between smartphone use, symptoms of depression, symptoms of anxiety, and academic performance in college students
The current study aims to research the relationship between smartphone use, symptoms of anxiety, symptoms of depression, and academic performance. Previous literature suggests that smartphone usage is related to mental health (Ha, Chin, Park, Ryu, and Yu, 2008; Rosen, Whaling, Rab, Carrier, and Cheever, 2013; Rosen, Whaling, Carrier, Cheever, & Rokkum, 2013; Van Ameringen, Mancini, & Farvolden, 2003). Studies have also linked mental health to academic performance in college students (Eisenberg, Golberstein, & Hunt, 2009; Hysenbegasi, Hass, & Rowland, 2005). Young adults ages 18-29 years old are most likely to own and use a smartphone compared to any other age group (Anderson, 2015; Smith, 2015); additionally, 75% of mental health disorders have their first onset before the age of 24. Therefore, the subject sample for this study focuses on college students. It is necessary to examine this relationship to understand possible predictors and provide recommendations on how academic institutions can improve students’ well-being and lower risk of academic failure.
Students (N = 216) attending a public university in the western U.S. were surveyed in a general education course on the global impact of technology and asked to download the Instant Quantified Self application to record their smartphone usage. Regression analyses determined that smartphone use significantly predicted academic performance, t(147) = -2.732, β = -.254, p < .01. Additionally, smartphone usage was negatively predictive of anxiety symptoms, t(147) = -2.306, β = -.216, p < .05, contradictory to previous research findings; therefore, smartphone usage may not be related to mental health as previously thought.