Mental & Emotional Health

Understanding Smartphone Separation Anxiety

What factors determine nomophobia, otherwise known as smartphone separation anxiety, and what behaviors and descriptors can help identify people with high nomophobia who tend to perceive smartphones as their extended selves? A study coauthored by Seunghee Han and Jang Hyun Kim, PhD, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Republic of Korea and Ki Joon Kim, PhD, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon and published August 14th 2017 in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking compares how people with high and low nomophobic tendencies perceive and value their smartphones.

A release from the publisher explains that the researchers developed a model that identified a link between factors such as personal memories and user’s greater attachment to their smartphones, leading to nomophobia and a tendency to phone proximity-seeking behavior.

The release quotes Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium as saying, “Nomophobia, fear of missing out (FoMo), and fear of being offline (FoBo)–all anxieties born of our new high-tech lifestyles–may be treated similarly to other more traditional phobias. Exposure therapy, in this case turning off technology periodically, can teach individuals to reduce anxiety and become comfortable with periods of disconnectedness.”

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