Researchers at Iowa State University have developed a test to help people determine if they’re nomophobic. It’s the fear of being without your smartphone. Caglar Yildirim, a Ph.D. student in human computer interaction at ISU, says smartphones are a great way to stay connected with family and friends and quickly track down information, but many people have an unhealthy dependence on the technology.
“I was kind of shocked by how times people would say, ‘I would feel naked if I don’t have my phone with me,'” Yildirim says. He and Ana-Paula Correia, an associate professor in ISU’s School of Education, recent had their student published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. Correia is now interested in finding out if certain people are more prone to nomophobia — the fear of “no more phone.”
“We also want to look at other psychological traits and specifically at the role of gender and age and how they relate to nomophobia and that fear of being apart from your smartphone,” Correia says. The researchers have identified four dimensions of nomophobia.
Study participants were asked to respond to the following statements on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree):
I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.
Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so.
Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.
If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it.
If I did not have my smartphone with me:
I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.
I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.
I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends.
I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me.
I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken.
I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks.
I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks.
I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages.
I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.
Total scores were calculated by adding the responses to each item. The higher scores corresponded to greater nomophobia severity.