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Table of Contents
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-10

A cross-sectional study to assess the problematic use of mobile phones among a selected population in an urban area

1 Tutor, Department of Psychiatry Nursing, College of Nursing, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Professor & HOD, Department of Psychiatry Nursing, College of Nursing, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication14-Oct-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Radhika Das
Department of Psychiatry Nursing, College of Nursing, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IOPN.IOPN_6_19

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Background: Life without a mobile phone would seem next to impossible today, where it is used not only for the sole purpose of communication but also as a storehouse of important personal information, internet facilities, navigation, social networking, bank transactions, and many more such needs. The use of mobile phones has also found to be a leading cause of road traffic accidents. This study assesses the mean score of mobile phone use among the selected population using Problematic Use of Mobile Phone (PUMP) questionnaire. Objective: The main objective of the study was to assess the PUMP usage among the selected population in an urban area. Materials and Methods: Quantitative nonexperimental descriptive design was followed.A total of hundred participants were included in the study and assessed using PUMP questionnaire, on the criterias of substance use disorder namely- Tolerance, Withdrawal, Craving, Social or interpersonal and Physical and psychological problems. Results: The mean scoring on PUMPs was 53%. Scores of most of the symptoms of substance abuse were more than 50% except those of withdrawal, use in physically hazardous situations, and use despite social or interpersonal problems. Conclusion: The selected population shows significantly high scores on PUMPs. Furthermore, most of the symptoms of substance abuse in the PUMP questionnaire have a scoring of over 50%.

Keywords: Mobile phones addiction, problematic use, substance abuse

How to cite this article:
Das R, Sharma PA. A cross-sectional study to assess the problematic use of mobile phones among a selected population in an urban area. Indian J Psy Nsg 2019;16:7-10

How to cite this URL:
Das R, Sharma PA. A cross-sectional study to assess the problematic use of mobile phones among a selected population in an urban area. Indian J Psy Nsg [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 May 31];16:7-10. Available from: https://www.ijpn.in/text.asp?2019/16/1/7/269164

  Introduction Top

Global health today is facing a major challenge in the form of addictions. Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. It may be a substance or behavioral addiction. Mobile phone overuse or mobile phone dependency is a form of behavioral addiction which exhibits problematic behaviors related to substance use disorders. Mobile phones today have become an essential factor in our lives, used not only for the sole purpose of communication, but also as a device of social connect, safe house of our images, videos, passwords, documents, for navigation, and provides internet and mail facilities at our fingertips. What developed as a need in 1973, has grown in leaps and bounds with an estimated 339.95 million users in India alone which is expected to rise to 442.5 million users in 2022.[1] The average age of children using cell phone is at 10.3 years,[2] and the radiofrequency waves emitted from mobile phones have also been evaluated for being possible human carcinogens. Various health problems such as neurological diseases, physiological addiction, and cognition and sleep disturbances have also found to be associated with the constant use of mobile phones.[3] Although diagnostic and statistical manual (DSM) 5 does not include any criteria for problematic use of technology, a study in 2016, based on the core symptoms of substance use disorders, gives the following as proposed diagnostic criteria for smartphone addiction.[4]

  1. Recurrent failure to resist the impulse to use the smartphone
  2. Withdrawal: as manifested by dysphoria, anxiety, and/or irritability after a period without smartphone use
  3. Smartphone use for a period longer than intended
  4. Persistent desire and/or unsuccessful attempts to quit or reduce smartphone use
  5. Excessive time spent on using or quitting the smartphone use
  6. Continued excessive smartphone use despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem resulting from smartphone overuse.

At least three of these symptoms should be presented for a 3-month period to be diagnosed for mobile phone addiction.

Strengthening of global health standards requires identifying the problem and taking remedial measures in time to prevent further worsening of global health conditions. Mobile phone misuse has been found to be affecting people irrespective of age, socioeconomic status, or educational qualification.

There has been to be an inverse relationship between mental health, healthy habits, and cell phone addiction. Associated comorbidities include sleep affectations, anxiety, stress, and consumption of substances such as alcohol or tobacco[5] along with neck strain, eye strain, increased illness, car accidents, and male infertility.[6]

This study utilizes Problematic Use of Mobile Phone (PUMP) questionnaire which demonstrates a single-factor structure and an excellent internal consistency.[7] It has questions related to various aspects of substance abuse, such as tolerance, craving, withdrawal, and activities given up or reduced, scoring from 20 to 100, higher scores indicating more symptoms of problematic mobile phone use.


Although mobile phones are an essential commodity, the usage of them for needs beyond just communication has sharply increased over the years. Another study published in 2017, on mobile phone addiction, shows that many of them were extremely dependent on smartphones, one-fourth of the studied population had wrist and hand pain due to smartphone use, which may lead to further physiological and psychological complications.[8]

The objective of the study was to assess the PUMPs among the selected population.

  Materials and Methods Top

A quantitative nonexperimental, descriptive, cross-sectional study design was followed. Setting of the study was an urban area of Western Maharashtra. Population of the study was urban adult population of a selected area. Convenient sampling was carried out, and a total of 100 participants were studied. Informed consent of the participants was obtained, a self-administered structured questionnaire was provided, and the participants were encouraged to give the most correct answer.

The questionnaire had two sections: Section I of sociodemographic variables; age of the participant, gender, educational level, occupation, marital status, number of children, staying with family members, years since owning a smartphone, socioeconomic status, time spent on social networking sites per day and Section II of twenty questions of PUMP scale in Likert form. The scores of the individuals were calculated, and the mean PUMP score of 100 participants using descriptive statistics was calculated.

  Results Top

Description of subjects

The sample consisted of 100 participants. Maximum participants were of the age group of 17–30 years (38%), and least were in the age group of 41–50 years (11%). About 58% were female and 42% were male. On evaluating the educational qualification of the participants, undergraduates were more (40%) and illiterate were the least (06%). Most of the participants were private employee (30%) and 9% were self-employed. Seventy-two percent were married and 18% were unmarried. Forty percent of participants had no children and 72% of participants were staying with their family members. Eighteen percent of participants were staying hostels in their place of study and work. Forty-four percent of participants had owned a mobile phone since 1–5 years, and maximum participants (42%) earned between Rs. 10,001 and 50,000. On time spend on social networking sites, 42% of participants spend <1 h on them, 23% spend 1–2 h, and 35% spend more than 2 h on various social networking sites daily.

Problematic use of mobile phone among the subjects

As per PUMP scale [Figure 1] on the questions related to tolerance, the scores of the participants were 53.6%; 46.8% scored on symptoms of withdrawal, 57% scored on longer time than intended on smartphone, 53.4% scored on great deal of time spend, 56% scored on symptoms of craving, 54.6% had activities which were given up or reduced due to the use of smartphones, 57.6% scored on use despite physical/psychological problems, 53.6% scored on failure to fulfill obligations, 49.8% scored on use in physically hazardous situations, and 48.6% had use of smartphones despite social or interpersonal problems. The mean scoring on PUMPs was found to be 53%.
Figure 1: The mean scoring of participants on Problematic Use of Mobile Phone. A: Tolerance, B: Withdrawal, C: Longer time than intended, D: Great deal of time spend, E: Craving. F: Activities given up or reduced, G: Use despite physical/physiological hazard, H: Failure to fulfill obligations, I: Use in physically hazardous situations, J: Use despite social/interpersonal problems

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  Discussion Top

The present study highlights the high rate of mobile use among the selected population. Most of the symptoms of substance abuse were included in the PUMP questionnaire in which scores were more than 50% in most of the symptoms except those of withdrawal, use in physically hazardous situations, and use despite social or interpersonal problems. The mean score of PUMP in the selected population is 53% in contrast to 20.1% among Spanish and 20.5% in British students as found out by López-Fernández et al.[9] In a mixed-method study by systematic review and meta-analysis[10] revealed that smartphone addiction magnitude in India is 39%–44%. About 52.9% of students had conflict with their parents for talking on mobile phones late at night and 44.8% on frequent texting to friends, and also that poor academic performance was related to prolonged mobile phone use in a study by Krithika and Vasantha.[11] Findings of a study by Lavanya and Rajandran in 2017 also reveals that youngsters spend too much time and money on mobile phones, have less interaction with people, and majority of youngsters have health problems due to usage of phone in the night which interrupt their sleep.[12]

  Conclusion Top

In the present study, there were more of young population in the age group 17–30 years, females, with undergraduate level of education. Seventy-two percent were married and staying with family members, and 42% of them spend <1 h on social networking sites. On administering the PUMP questionnaire, the results revealed scoring of more than 50% in most of the symptoms except those of withdrawal, use in physically hazardous situations, and use despite social or interpersonal problems. The present study highlights the high scoring of the participants on various aspects of substance abuse. It is highly important to identify the PUMPs which are widely rampant among children and adults alike. Excessive use of mobile phones is associated with physical as well as psychological hazards, economic losses, and inefficacies in social and interpersonal relationships. Higher scores in PUMP questionnaire reveal greater PUMPs. The mean PUMP score of the present study is 53% which indicates significant PUMPs in the selected population.

Billions of people use mobile phones everyday, and the number is ever-expanding. Excessive use of mobile phones is included under substance abuse, and it ranks fourth among the top 10 common health issues affecting the global population. There is a pressing need to identify and tackle the influence of this ever-expanding technological invention that may have deleterious effect on the present and coming generation. While studies are being carried out to evaluate the relationship between mobile phone use and increasing incidences of cancer, scientist has reported adverse effects of mobile phone usage in changes in brain activity, reaction time, and sleep patterns, also a 3–4 times greater risk of road traffic accidents. Improving global health will greatly depend on spreading knowledge and awareness among the common population on harmful effects of excessive mobile phone use.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Available from: https://www.statista.com/statistics/467163/ forecast-of-smartphone users in India. [Last accessed on 2018 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 1
Hardell L. Effects of mobile phones on children's and adolescents' health: A Commentary. Child Dev 2018;89:137-40.  Back to cited text no. 3
Lin YH, Chiang CL, Lin PH, Chang LR, Ko CH, Lee YH, et al. Proposed diagnostic criteria for smartphone addiction. PLoS One 2016;11:e0163010.  Back to cited text no. 4
De-Sola Gutiérrez J, Rodríguez de Fonseca F, Rubio G. Cell-phone addiction: A Review. Front Psychiatry 2016;7:175.  Back to cited text no. 5
Available from: https://www.psychguides.com/guides/signs andsymptoms-of cell phone addiction/. [Last accessed on 2018 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 6
Merlo LJ, Stone AM, Bibbey A. Measuring problematic mobile phone use: Development and preliminary psychometric properties of the PUMP scale. J Addict 2013;2013:912807.  Back to cited text no. 7
Parasuraman S, Sam AT, Yee SWK, Chuon BLC, Ren LY. Smartphone usage and increased risk of mobile phone addiction: A concurrent study. Int J Pharm Investig 2017;7:125-31.  Back to cited text no. 8
López-Fernández O, Honrubia-Serrano ML, Freixa-Blanxart M. Adaptación española del “mobile phone problem use scale” para poblaciónadolescente. Adicciones 2012;24:123-30.  Back to cited text no. 9
Davey S, Davey A. Assessment of smartphone addiction in indian adolescents: A Mixed method study by systematic-review and meta-analysis approach. Int J Prev Med 2014;5:1500-11.  Back to cited text no. 10
Krithika M, Vasantha S. The mobile phone usage among teens and young adults impact of invading technology. Int J Innov Res Sci Eng Technol 2013;2:7259-65.  Back to cited text no. 11
Lavanya R, Rajandran KV. A study on smart phone usage among youngsters at age group (15 29). Asia Pac J Res 2017;1:23-7  Back to cited text no. 12


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