Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Mobile Phone Dependence and Health-Related Lifestyle of University Students

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Mobile Phone Dependence and Health-Related Lifestyle of University Students

Article excerpt

This study investigated the associations between the intensity of mobile phone use and health-related lifestyle. For 275 university students, we evaluated health-related lifestyle using the Health Practice Index (HPI; Hagihara & Morimoto, 1991; Kusaka, Kondou, & Morimoto, 1992) and analyzed responses to a questionnaire (MPDQ; Toda, Monden, Kubo, & Morimoto, 2004) designed, with a self-rating scale, to gauge mobile phone dependence. For males, there was a significant relationship between smoking habits and mobile phone dependence. We also found that male respondents with low HPI scores were significantly higher for mobile phone dependence. These findings suggest that, particularly for males, the intensity of mobile phone use may be related to healthy lifestyle.

Keywords: mobile phone, dependence, health-related lifestyle, Health Price Index, health, males.

In Japan, from the mid-1990s, mobile phones rapidly came into widespread use. Excluding subscribers to Personal Handy-phone System (PHS), in March 2004 there were 81.52 million mobile phones in use, which translates to a penetration rate of about 64% (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, 2004). In addition, the diffusion of Internet access via mobile phone, which began in February 1999 has also been remarkable. Of the 81.52 million mobile phones, 69.73 million were also able to access the Internet (MIC, 2004).

Thus, the mobile phone has established a general presence in daily life. At the same time, such a new information and communication technology may cause various issues. Some previous studies of Internet use suggest that excessive Internet use may be associated with subjective distress, loneliness and social disinhibition (Kraut et al., 1998; Moody, 2001; Niemz, Griffiths, & Banyard, 2005; Shapira, Goldsmith, Keck, Khosla, & McElroy, 2000). Meanwhile, although there are only a few studies of mobile phone use, it has been suggested that excessive mobile phone use may be associated with health-compromising behaviors, such as smoking or alcohol drinking (Koivusilta, Lintonen, & Rimpelä, 2003, 2005). To further elucidate the health-effect implications of excessive mobile phone use, we thought that a more comprehensive investigation of lifestyle was required. In the present study, by analyzing responses from a sample of university students, we investigated the associations between the intensity of mobile phone use and health-related lifestyle, and also the gender difference in these associations.

Viewing mobile phone dependence as a type of technostress (Brod, 1984), in a previous study we defined dependence in terms of two factors: excessive use and use of mobile phones in public places even when such use is considered to be a nuisance. We suggested that measures to prevent the mental and physical health effects of such dependence are required (Toda, Monden, Kubo, & Morimoto, 2004). In this previous study, to identify high-risk groups, we designed, administered, and confirmed the reliability and pertinence of a questionnaire to gauge mobile phone dependence (MPDQ; Toda et al.).

METHOD

SUBJECTS

In a survey called "Investigation into lifestyle and the use of mobile phones," we distributed questionnaires to 275 university students in the Department of Technology, Medicine and Literature after a lecture. The students filled them in then and there on their own. Afterwards, we collected the completed forms. Statistical analysis could be performed for 271 respondents (117 males, 154 females) who properly completed all the questionnaire items. Mean (±SD) age for males was 21.5 ± 1.8 years and for females 21.3 ± 1.4 years. All subjects also had mobile phone access to the Internet and all mobile phone use was personal: there were no responses indicating use for business.

MOBILE PHONE DEPENDENCE

We evaluated mobile phone dependence from responses given to 20 self-rated items related to mobile phone use in the MPDQ (Toda et al. …

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