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Catharina Candussi
Madhini Sivasubramanian
Ali Davod Parsa
Russell Kabir


cross-sectional study, problematic smartphone usage, smartphone addiction, university students, England


 BACKGROUND: The popularity of smartphones and their excessive usage led to the introduction
of the term problematic smartphone use (PSU). Whereby PSU can lead to various negative mental
and physical consequences.
AIM: This study aims to investigate prevalence and patterns of PSU among nursing and public health
students at the University of Sunderland in London (UoSiL).
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out between June and September 2022 utilising a
pre-validated questionnaire.
RESULTS: A total of 262 students participated in this study consisting of 195 females and 67 males.
The overall prevalence of PSU was 46.6%, whereby a positive correlation between young age and
PSU (r = 0.152, r2 = 0.23, α = 0.014) could be found. Furthermore, a significant association between
daily hours spent on smartphones and PSU (p < 0.002) with a positive correlation for higher numbers
of daily smartphone usage (r = 0.253, r2 = 0.064, p < 0.001) was seen. Also, significant results were
calculated focusing on social media with a higher possibility for PSU in students using mostly TikTok
or Facebook compared to those who mainly used Twitter or Instagram. Students who did not use
social media at all had the smallest risk for PSU.
CONCLUSION: A high prevalence of PSU among university students was seen. Young age and a
high number spent on phones were discovered as predictive factors. It is important to raise awareness
among students and conduct future longitudinal studies to get a better understanding of causal

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