Coppin State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 2731-2740
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Here we present a hands-on behavioral research experience for students, applicable for use in the Psychology classroom, such as in Experimental or Psychological Research Methods courses. We engaged students in the scientific process to ask a timely question: Are Cell Phones Addictive? If so, to whom?
We examined cell phone addiction in 97 students at Coppin State University in Baltimore City, Maryland. The study was conducted in upper-level Experimental Psychology courses, and engaged students in each stage of the research process. Here we report the results of the study, and provide evidence from course evaluations that this laboratory experience was enjoyable and improved student learning of psychological research methods.
We examined cell phone use related to gender, age, and race,and whether life stress was associated with cell phone dependence. Participants were 97 students (73% female), 88% African-American. Most were commuter students (65%) compared to those who live on campus (34%). Participants mean age was 25.2, SD=9.43 (range 18 – 53), median age 21.
Recently, psychologists have likened excessive cell phone use to other forms of behavioral ‘addiction’, such as gambling (e.g., Jenaro, 2007), and new scales are being developed to measure the ‘addictive’ nature of cell phone use among college students. Here we administered the 38-item Cellular Technologies Addiction Scale (CTAS), developed by Dr. Lisa J. Merlo, University of Florida, used with her permission. The CTAS is composed of two sub-scales, one proposed to measure Cellular Technology Abuse (14 items), and the other Cellular Technology Dependence (24 items). Items are rated on a scale from 1=Strongly Disagree to 5=Strongly Agree (3=Neither Agree nor Disagree), and range from 14-70, with neutral=42 on the Abuse scale, and from 24-120, with neutral=72 on the Dependence scale. We also asked participants to complete the Holmes & Rahe (1967) Social Readjustment Rating Scale as an overall measure of life-stress.
Using a multivariate ANOVA model we contrasted within-subject factors of Sex (25 male, 66 female), Age Group (51 Younger≤21, 40 Older≥22), and Commuter status (59 Commuters, 32 On-campus) with participant scores on the Abuse and Dependence scales of the Cellular Technologies Addiction Scale (CTAS) and Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS). There were significant main effects of participant Age Group [F(1,81)=5.2, p=.002], but not Sex or Commuter status. The Older groups ages ranged from 22-53 (M=33, SD=10.3) and the Younger groups ages ranged from 18-21 (M=19.4, SD=1.1).
Differences in age and living conditions, but not gender, were associated with greater levels of cell phone addiction and dependence. This is similar to what Dr. Merlo reported in a sample (n=183) of predominantly Caucasian (76%) students, ages 18-75, M=30.4 at the University of Florida. Thus student age appears to be the most critical factor, rather than differences in sex, race or geographic location. Age was negatively correlated with both CTAS Abuse scale scores (r=-.38, p<.001) and CTAS Dependence scale scores (r=-.37, p<.001).
Students across several semesters of Experimental Psychology courses at Coppin State University have participated in the design, implementation, data analysis and presentation of the results of this Cell Phone Addiction Study. Students described the experience as both enjoyable and helpful for learning psychological research methods.
Psychological Research, Cell Phone Addiction, Laboratory Exercise.