Does iPod Dependence Relate to Text-Message Dependence?

By Ferraro, F. R.; Wunderlich, L. et al. | The Psychological Record, September 2014 | Go to article overview

Does iPod Dependence Relate to Text-Message Dependence?


Ferraro, F. R., Wunderlich, L., Wyrobek, K., Weivoda , L., The Psychological Record


As technologies advance further, the effects of such technological advances are starting to make their way into the scientific literature. For example, texting is one of the most popular methods for staying in touch and communicating with friends and updating information. Texting does have its downsides that may be related to how information is processing, including increased problems with spelling and eye-movement pattems (Kreiner and Davis 2011; Perea et al. 2009). As the average number of texts that individuals send and receive increases along with increases in cell phone usage, medical and psychological professionals are becoming more concerned about the rise in certain detrimental behaviors exhibited by individuals, such as worrying, anxiety, school distractions, failing grades, as well as the reduced social contact that often occurs as a result of texting (Sansone and Sansone 2013). Individuals' dependence on texting has also been investigated. Igarashi et al. (2007) found that texting self-perceptions and texting dependence were related to a variety of behavioral and psychological aspects of student behavior. They used a shortened version of the Self-Perception of Text Messaging Dependency Scale (SPTMDS), which includes questions related to sensitive responses to text messages, self-perception about compulsive usage of text messaging, fear of disruption of relationships without text messages, and psychological/behavioral symptoms concerning the heavy usage of text messages.

We also know that iPod usage has grown dramatically over the past 5-10 years (Ferguson et al. 2007), so much that college students now listen to their iPods more than traditional radio. It is also known that iPod usage has sparked concern over hearing loss (Danhauer et al. 2009) as well as issues related to boredom, stimulation, and entertainment. Little is known about whether iPod usage creates the same negative dependence as texting and cell phone usage. This is an important issue, since most individuals, especially college students, now seem to have access to and use such mobile devices in conjunction with each other.

As mentioned, Igarashi et al. (2007) found adverse psychological and behavioral consequences related to texting dependence. More recently, Ferraro et al. (2012) gave the SPTMDS to 204 undergraduates and found that as performance on the four subscales increased, so did measures of depression, state anxiety, and trait anxiety, adding to the psychological issues detailed by Igarashi et al. (2007). Ferraro et al. (2012) also found significant negative correlations between SPTMDS subscale scores and a global measure of executive functioning (SpineIla 2005). They concluded that increased dependence on texting and text messaging appeared to disrupt multiple emotional, behavioral, and psychological processes, thereby extending the results offered up by Igarashi et al. (2007).

The Present Study

The present study sought to determine whether iPod usage results in a dependency issue for their owner and, if so, if that dependency is similar to the dependency seen in texting. Very little empirical work can be found on the association of possible mental health variables with iPod usage, despite the fact that, as with texting and cell phones, iPods seem ubiquitous in modern day society.

To investigate iPod dependence, we adapted the SPTMDS and substituted "iPod" for "texting". Because iPod usage seems inseparable from texting and cell phone use, we hypothesized that increases in iPod dependence would mirror the dependence seen in texting. That is, we expected the four subscales of the SPTMDS to correlate positively and significantly with the four subscales of the iPod dependence scale, suggesting that these scales overlap with regard to similar underlying mechanisms. That is, if the various subscales (i.e., Text 1-iPod 1, Text 2-iPod 2, etc.) correlated highly and significantly, this could indicate that they both share some level of underlying mechanisms. …

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