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Overuse Of Smartphones Linked To More Sexual Partners

Too much smartphone use could lead to sexual urges and more sexual partners than the average mobile user a new report has revealed.

Researchers from the University of Chicago, University of Cambridge, and the University of Minnesota developed the Health and Addictive Behaviours Survey.

And after talking to more than 3,400 people taking degrees in the US it was revealed that overuse of smartphones by university students may have be related to lower grades, drinking problems and more sexual partners, they also were more likely to report anxiety or depression.

One psychiatrist said the findings were “concerning”.

One in five students answered yes to enough questions to be deemed as overusing their phones, with more than 60% of these being female.

The study found that the proportion of students reporting two or more sexual partners in the past 12 months was significantly higher among those also reporting overuse of mobile phones – 37.4% compared with 27.2% who reported no problem use.

The proportion with six or more sexual partners was more than double among those who said they overused their smartphones.

The reasons for this are difficult to pinpoint and are likely to be varied, said Dr Sam Chamberlain, one of the authors and an honorary consultant psychiatrist at the University of Cambridge.

“It could be that people are using smartphones to date via apps, but they also might be neglecting more normal relationships because of overuse of their phones,” he said.

“The strongest finding was that people reporting problematic use of their phones were also more likely to have the trait of impulsiveness, and this could also play a part in the number of sexual partners they have.

“If this was a healthy thing, we’d expect to see better self-esteem and less mental health issues, but the opposite was the case,” he added.

The aim of the study was to assess mental health and wellbeing among university students and to see what impact mobile phones had on them.

Students were asked a variety of questions, including:

do friends or relatives complain about excessive use?

do you have problems concentrating in class or at work due to smartphone use?

do you feel fretful or impatient without your smartphone?

do you feel the amount of time you are on it has increased over time?

are you missing work due to smartphone use?

are you experiencing physical consequences of excessive use, such as light-headedness or blurred vision?

“It’s easy to think of problematic smartphone use as an addiction, but if it was that simple, we would expect it to be associated with a wide range of substance misuse problems, especially in such a large sample, but this does not seem to be the case,” said Dr Chamberlain.

Some experts have suggested that excessive gaming, which is now classified as a disorder by the World Health Organization, be extended to include more general overuse of screens.

The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Behavioural Addictions.

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