1 The Open University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
2 University of Salford (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 2033-2040
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.0378
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
As the advanced mobile technology enables people to easy access Internet and enjoy mass communication, smartphone use seems ubiquitous. While enjoying the benefit provided by mobile devices, there may be some drawbacks of using it. Research found that excessive smartphone use may lead to mobile phone problematic use (MPPU), such as addictive behaviour. Moreover, the inability to regulate the use of mobile devices may result in negative consequences, including symptoms of dependence, social isolation, behavioral and affective problems. Research showed that MPPU in adolescents interfered with their academic performance and suggested that poor inhibition could be the explanation. As inhibition is one of the cognitive controls that associated with MPPU, the executive function which is a system of cognitive controls that manage cognitive processes may also be associated with MPPU. Since a number of studies showed that executive function is associated with academic pursuit; therefore understanding the relationship between MPPU and executive function is crucial in academic pursuit. Moreover, lower self-esteem was found to predict problematic smartphone use. Although the relationship between low self-esteem and depression was indicated in previous research, the latent role of depression played in problematic smartphone use was not addressed. To fill the research gap, the current study aims to understand the relationship between MPPU, executive function, and psychological health among young adults. College students (N=198) were asked to fill in a set of psychometric scales, namely Mobile Phone Problematic Use Scale, Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Beck Depression Inventory, and General Health Questionnaire, to measure MPPU, executive function, depression, and mental health respectively. Also, participants were asked to fill in the prices of their smartphones. The current study found correlation between variables that participants who responded higher in MPPU reported poor in all nine subscales of executive function, namely inhibit, shift, emotional control, self-monitor, initiate, working memory, plan/organize, task monitor, and organization of materials. Higher in MPPU was also associated with higher level of depression, mental health problems and using more expensive smartphones. Multiple regression found that depression and smartphone prices significantly predicted problematic smartphone use. The current findings contributed to explain previous research on MPPU, interference in academic performance and negative influence on psychological well-being. As smartphone use is prevalent, for example mobile penetration rate in Hong Kong has reached 238.4% in 2017, further research on the intervention of MPPU is needed among college students to be able to enhance their executive function and improve psychological health.
Smartphone use, executive function, psychological health.