Cellphone addiction is similar to compulsive buying and credit card misuse, a new study has found.
and instant messaging addictions are driven by materialism and
impulsiveness and can be compared to consumption pathologies like
compulsive buying and credit card misuse, according to Baylor University
"Cellphones are a part of our consumer culture. They are not just a consumer tool, but are used as a status symbol.
They're also eroding our personal relationships," said researcher James Roberts.
study, co-authored with Stephen Pirog III, from Seton Hall University,
found that materialism and impulsiveness drive cell phone addiction.
are used as part of the conspicuous consumption ritual and also act as a
pacifier for the impulsive tendencies of the user, according to
Impulsiveness, he noted, plays an important role in both behavioural and substance addictions.
study is the first to investigate the role materialism plays in cell
phone addiction. According to Roberts, "materialism is an important
consumer value that impacts many of the decisions we make as consumers".
cellphone use and over-use have become so common that it is important
to have a better understanding of what drives these types of
Previous studies have shown that young
adults send an average of 109.5 text messages a day or approximately
3,200 texts each month.
They receive an additional 113 text
messages and check their cell 60 times in a typical day and on average,
college students spend approximately seven hours daily interacting with
information and communication technology.
"At first glance, one
might have the tendency to dismiss such aberrant cellphone use as merely
youthful nonsense - a passing fad. But an emerging body of literature
has given increasing credence to cellphone addiction and similar
behavioural addictions," Roberts said.
Data for this study come
from self-report surveys of 191 business students at two US
universities. Cellphones are used by approximately ninety per cent of
college students, and said Roberts, "serve more than just a utilitarian
The study was published in the Journal of Behavioural Addictions.