The relationship between technology use, anxiety and depression: findings from a Romanian sample


  • R. Tomsa
  • D.P. Dudău
  • C. Jenaro Rio
  • N. Flores Robaine


The development of ICT has propelled ground-breaking research topics such as: (1) pathological use of internet and mobile phone along with the psychological difficulties that any addiction could bring; (2) digital traces of real life behaviours, thoughts and feelings. The current study is placed in the first category and aims to investigate the connection between excessive use of internet and mobile phone, depression and anxiety, in emerging adulthood. This period of transition is generally characterized by strivings to find own meaning in life and independence, which could explain why anxiety, substance and mood disorders tend to be the most common conditions at this age. Our sample comprised 366 Romanian youths (Mage = 20.52; SD = 3.54) who completed three self-report instruments, including BDI and STAI. Excessive use of internet and mobile phone were defined by four markers: loss of control, tolerance, abstinence problems and negative effects on daily functioning. Data analysis revealed that all components of internet and mobile overuse correlated positively with depression and anxiety. Further investigations consisted of two regression analyses showed that the overall excessive internet use was a stronger predictor for both types of symptoms, compared to mobile overuse, and that the abstinence factor was better than loss of control, tolerance and negative effects of internet on daily functioning. Knowing what observable behaviours to follow in order to grasp clues to depression and anxiety, might be particularly valuable especially if the connection is not intuitive. This might help reducing the problem of under-recognition of such disorders.





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