Psychology of Mobile Phone Use and Misuse

J.G Phillips, Lauren Saling, A Blaszczynski

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


In particular, the mobile phone elicits problems for heavier users, with a section of the community reporting difficulty managing their time, financial problems, and aches and pains. The development of problems can be understood in terms of distraction and traits like procrastination. Tendencies towards procrastination can explain messaging behaviour, distraction from important tasks, and hence loss of resources (i.e. time or money) that influences quality of work. It is likely that some elements of problematic use will be resolved by innovations such as Bluetooth (hands free while driving), gesture or handwriting recognition (aches and pains), and video (antisocial behaviour). But other innovations such as location aware advertising and gambling are likely to create new problems such as distraction and financial loss for a prop of the community.The extensive community adoption of mobile phones coupled with the development of its own specific slang is seen by some as an emerging new phenomena. Nevertheless existing psychological approaches to the impulse control disorders and the addictions can definitely serve as useful starting points for understanding phone use. We discuss whether heavier mobile phone use could be viewed as an addiction. Building upon previous research on internet use, studies demonstrate that specific psychological traits can explain mobile phone use and misuse. For instance, both mobile phone use and internet use are linked to lower levels of the agreeableness trait. Nevertheless, in contrast to the introverted stereotype of the heavier internet user, mobile phone use is more strongly linked to extraversion. As the mobile phone is a communication device, it is not surprising that its use can be predicted by psychological traits such as extraversion, and as extraversion is also associated with sensation seeking, this trait can also explain the self stimulatory behaviours and risk taking behaviour associated with mobile phone (e.g. use while driving).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMobile Telephones
Subtitle of host publicationNetworks, Applications and Performance
EditorsAlvin C Harper, Raymond V Buress
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781604564365
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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