Washington, Dec 5 (PTI) Too much smartphone use can lead to leisure distress, feeling uptight, stressed and anxious during free time, new research has found. Researchers at the Kent State University in US surveyed a random sample of 454 college students to examine how different types of cell phone users experience daily leisure.
They measured each person's total daily cell phone use, personality and experience of daily leisure. The students were then categorised into distinct groups based on similar patterns of smartphone use and personality. Lastly, each group's experience of daily leisure was compared. An analysis showed three distinct types of cell phone users: low-use extroverts, low-use introverts and a high-use group.
The high-use group made up about 25 per cent of the sample and averaged more than 10 hours of cell phone use per day. An increased level of smartphone use was this group's defining characteristic and was associated with a diminished experience of daily leisure.
"The high-frequency cell phone user may not have the leisure skills necessary to creatively fill their free time with intrinsically rewarding activities," researcher Andrew Lepp said. "For such people, the ever-present smartphone may provide an easy, but less satisfying and more stressful, means of filling their time," said Lepp.
In comparison to the other two groups, the high-frequency cell phone users experienced significantly more leisure distress. Leisure distress is feeling uptight, stressed and anxious during free time. "In our previously published research, we found that high-frequency cell phone users often described feeling obligated to remain constantly connected to their phones," researcher Jacob Barkley said.
"This obligation was described as stressful, and the present study suggests the stress may be spilling over into their leisure," said Barkley. By contrast, the low-use extrovert group averaged about three hours of smartphone use per day and had the greatest preference to challenge themselves during leisure time as well as low levels of leisure boredom and distress.
"Although this study was not designed to assess cause and effect, the relationships identified are important to reflect upon," researcher Jian Li said. "Being constantly connected to your phone is not likely to enhance your experience of leisure. On the other hand, disconnecting for short periods of time in order to seek more challenging leisure opportunities is likely to be beneficial," said Li. The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour.