Smartphone Restriction and its Effect on Subjective Withdrawal Related Scores
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Smartphone overuse is associated with a number of negative consequences for the individual and the environment. In the right end of the distribution of smartphone usage, concepts such as smartphone addiction seem warranted. An area that so far lacks research concerns the effect of smartphone restriction generally and specifically on subjective withdrawal related scores across different degrees of smartphone usage. The present study examined withdrawal related scores on the Smartphone Withdrawal Scale (SWS), the Fear of Mission Out Scale (FoMOs) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) scale during a smartphone restriction period, lasting 72 hours. In all, 127 participants were randomly assigned into one of two conditions; a restricted condition (n= 67) or a control condition (n= 60). During the restriction period, the aforementioned scales were completed three times a day by the participants. The results revealed a significant difference in scores between the restricted condition and the control condition on the SWS. Further, the participants with higher scores on smartphone addiction in the restricted condition were, compared to those with lower scores on smartphone addiction, significantly more negatively affected by the smartphone restriction condition, according to the SWS and the PANAS (Negative Affect) than those with higher and lower addiction scores in the control condition. This indicates that being restricted from one’s smartphone could cause significant withdrawal symptoms for an individual and that this effect is stronger among individuals with higher levels of smartphone addiction.