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1. How well your abstract provides a concise but meaningful description of the study
2. How well you explaining the importance of the study, and how it addresses a problem or gap in the literature,
3. How well your method section describes what was done to answer the research question
4. How well your results section describes how the data were prepared and analysed, as well as what was found,
5. How well you interpret and synthesise the results in your discussion,factoring in the aims, hypotheses, and broader literature

The rise of smartphone addiction and its impact on behavioral outcomes

In the past decade the usage of the smartphone has increased all over the world (Hussain, Griffiths & Sheffield, 2017). There has been a significant rise in research to analyze personality traits linked to it and behavioral outcomes. According to Campbell and Park (2008) smartphones’ multi-functionality has become indispensable in individual lives. Smartphone addiction has risen considerably in the recent period with an associated increase in internet addiction, problematic smartphone use, and screen addiction.  Smartphone addiction behavior is studied as it has emerged to be problematic leading to behavioral outcomes such as tolerance, cravings, and withdrawal, a decrease in social functioning, productivity and wellbeing. More serious outcomes reveal challenges pertaining to social skill development, intimate relationship formation and neurological development (Aldao, Nolen-Hoeksema & Schweizer, 2010).        

Studies have been conducted to depict usage of smartphone and personality traits, such as the Big Five personality traits including neuroticism, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness and agreeableness as per Lane and Manner (2012). Studies conducted reveal that extroverts are more prone to use smartphones for social media usage and enhancement of the same.  On the contrary, introverts make use of smartphones to disclose their personal information, which in turn might be a social compensation, as per Bianchi and Phillips (2005). Findings of Robert, Pullig, and Manolis (2014) were important in this regard as their study found introverts to be less associated with smartphones. In regards to the personality trait of neuroticism and smartphone addiction, there were studies depicting the significant correlation between use of addictive technology with that of attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression as per Andreassen et. al. (2016). In another study by Claire Pearson and Zaheer Hussain (2016) there was found a significant relationship between openness, conscientious and agreeableness to smartphone addiction (Ferrer & Mendes, 2018). According to studies by McCrae and Costa (1999), it was found that conscientiousness and emotional stability are negative predictors for problematic smartphone usage. The study reveals that less conscientiousness and emotionally less stable individuals have a tendency to depict problematic behavior. The personality trait of openness was found to have a negative relation with smartphone usage (Estevez, Jauregui, Sanchez-Marcos, Lopez-Gonzalez & Griffiths, 2017). The study conducted multiple correlations and regression analysis for categorizing relation between smartphone addiction prediction and personality traits.

Studies have been conducted to understand emotional regularity smartphone addiction. Emotions arise as a remotely coupled experimental, behavior-based psychological response and it might include amusement, fear, anger, and sadness (Pearson & Hussain, 2016). The modal model reflects ways in which emotions arise and then unfolds over a passage of time and is an emotion-generative process. According to Gross, Sheppes and Urry (2011) defined emotion regulation is an outcome of implicit or explicit goal influence arising from emotion-generative process Gross & Jazaieri, 2014). Such regulations might be intrinsic or intrapersonal in nature or extrinsic or interpersonal in nature and connected to three important common factors for the purpose of adaptive regulation such as awareness, goals, and strategies (Gyurak, Gross & Etkin, 2011). According to Augner and Hacker (2012) smartphone usage was found to have a relation with psychological health and emotional well-being. Emotional regulations such as non-acceptance of emotional responses, the difficulty of engaging in the goal-directed behavior, impulse control difficulties, lack of emotional awareness, limited access to emotional regulations strategies and lack of emotional clarity were found to be affected from problematic psychological behaviors. Screen addiction was found to have a relationship with the problematic usage of smartphones (Hunter, Houghton, Zadow, Rosenberg, Wood, Shilton & Lawrence, 2017).

Personality traits and smartphone usage: a review of prior research

In the present study, it was hypothesized that screen addiction has significant positive correlations with the overall emotional regulation score, as well as with the six subscales (NONACCEPT, GOALS, IMPULSE, AWARE, STRATEGIES, and CLARITY) of the emotional regulation scale. In accordance with the previous literature, it was also hypothesized that screen addition was significantly correlated with Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Emotionality subscales of the Big 5 scale.

In order to conduct this study, there were a total of 411 participants selected. Amongst the participants selected male comprised of 66 and female participant comprised of 341 in number, there were 3 participants, who elected not to answer and another 1 participant. The age of participants selected includes a range of 18 years to 61 years.     

In order to conduct the survey, materials used were a questionnaire for IPIP NEO 50 item self-report inventory. Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) include a 36-item self-report questionnaire. Adolescent Preoccupation with Screens Scale with 21 item self-report scale. HEXACO Personality Inventory with 100 items for measuring 6 factors. Behavioral outcomes for a total of 791 students, which includes exercise, tobacco use, and alcohol use, this includes a Short Suggestibility Scale for T3. The data collected from the survey questionnaire was checked for internal validity using Cronbach's alpha. Scales for Cronbach's alpha are IPIP 0.90, O 0.84, A 0.86 and C 0.90. Adolescence Preoccupation with Screen Scale 0.91. Different Emotion Regulation Scale, Overall 0.95, Non-acceptance 0.91, Goals 0.88, impulse control 0.90, Strategies 0.92, Emotional clarity 0.86.     

The study was conducted through a survey and was a cohort study. In order to get participants for the study, an advertisement was given at various places of the University Campus. Participants contacted through an email id that was furnished in the advertisement. All participants were college students, who were briefed regarding the study aim and procedure at the University Campus Hall. Each participant was made to sign the consent form that was approved by the Ethical Committee of the University. There was no payment or reward that was offered to participants of the study. Participants were divided into two groups of T2 and T3 and then the questionnaire for the survey was handed over to them. They were asked to fill out their respective questionnaires and hand over, which was taken for further analysis. The survey will aim at measuring of personality, emotional regulation, and suggestibility. A small number of T3 cohorts will be asked to complete suggestibility. T2 students will provide input for measuring personality and emotional regulations. Convenient sampling was used for the purpose of participant selection.  

Emotional regulation and its connection to smartphone addiction

The present research was conducted with a total of 411 respondents, where 341 were females and the rest 66 respondents were males. Age wise analysis yielded that the average age of the respondents was 24.35 years (SD = 6.78 years). The youngest response was received from an 18-year-old individual, whereas, the oldest of the respondents was of 61 years of age. Among 411 respondents, 408 were found to use Smartphone (P = 99.3%). Merely, 3 participants (P = 0.7%) were found who were not using Smartphone.

  The average scores of Emotional Regulation subscales, Behavioral attributes, and personality traits of the Big 5 personality scale were found. Average scores for GOALS (M = 3.47, SD = 0.82), Agreeableness (M = 3.94, SD = 0.45), Conscientiousness (M = 3.66, SD = 0.55), Openness (M = 3.50, SD = 0.49), and Extraversion (M = 3.26, SD = 0.55) were found to be comparatively high. Detailed descriptive information has been presented in Table 1.  

The Pearson's correlation coefficient for pairwise comparison was evaluated in SPSS software environment for the two-tail hypothesis. The correlation coefficient between the screen addiction and subscales of the three available scales in the present study were evaluated with their significance levels. In Table 2, a detailed report of the pair-wise correlations has been presented.   

Note: Significant correlation at 5% level of significance denoted by “*”, and significant correlation at 1% level of significance denoted by “**”.

The correlation between screen addiction and six subscales of emotional scale (NONACCEPT, GOALS, IMPULSE, AWARE, STRATEGIES, and CLARITY) were found to be statistically significant. Similarly, pairwise correlations between screen addiction and Neuroticism subscales of the Big 5 scale were some statistically significant with negative correlation found related extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Correlations with Behavioral outcomes were found to be statistically insignificant at 5% level of significance. There was no statistically significant pair-wise correlation between screen addiction and addiction to Alcohol, between screen addition and affinity towards Tobacco as well as inclination towards Exercise. From the evidence of the inferential analysis, the hypotheses of the present research were accepted at 5% level of significance.

The study aimed at analyzing the extent to which an individual's smartphone problematic usage is related to their personality and ability to regulate emotions. The hypotheses were to analyze positive correlations of screen addiction with that of the overall emotional regulation score. Such positive correlations were analyzed with the six subscales such as NONACCEPT, GOALS, IMPULSE, AWARE, STRATEGIES, and CLARITY of the emotional regulation scale. Another set of hypotheses that screen addition was positively correlated with Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Emotionality subscales of the Big 5 scale.

Methodology: cohort study examining emotional regulation, screen addiction, and personality traits

Studies conducted prior to this study by which includes Hussain, Griffiths, and Sheffield (2017) was similar in nature. However, findings of the study were somewhat not similar to this study as it included relation between problematic use of a smartphone with that personality trait such as extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness. In this study, there was found to be a Neuroticism individual with that of screen addiction. On the other hand, individuals with individuals with personality traits of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Openness and Extraversion subscales of the Big 5 scale had no inclination to screen addiction. There was also found to Emotional regulators of Awareness, Clarity, Goals, Non-Acceptance, Strategies and Impulse subscales were impacted from excessive usage of smartphone. Problematic usage of smartphones did not have any Behavioral outcomes such as usage of tobacco, alcohol or contributing towards exercise. Implications from the study indicates that while emotional regulations and personality traits can be found associated with screen addiction, but screen addiction cannot be connected with any other behavioral outcomes.

The study has several limitations, as the participants taken for the study included students from only Australia. Moreover, participants were self-selected and comprised of a specific age group, though it reflected an important generation identity. There is a gender disparity amongst self- selected students for the study. Therefore, gender-wise data not being available, gender based comparative study was not possible in the current study. The study did not include current state of mind (depressive mood) of participants, this could have affected the outcome of the research. Moreover, distance of participant from the residence was not considered, which could increase the usage of smartphones under certain social obligations. These limitations have impacted the findings of the study as the sample size has been limited. It has further impacted the validity of the research to be limited. In case of future studies, collecting data from larger samples with varied age groups can allow overcoming this limitation.   

The study found individual’s with personality traits of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Openness and Extraversion subscales of the Big 5 scale had no inclination to screen addiction. There was also found to Emotional regulators of Awareness, Clarity, Goals, Non-Acceptance, Strategies and Impulse subscales were impacted from excessive usage of smartphone. Problematic usage of smartphones did not have any Behavioral outcomes such as usage of tobacco, alcohol or contributing towards exercise. Implications from the study indicates that while emotional regulations and personality traits can be found associated with screen addiction, but screen addiction cannot be connected with any other behavioral outcomes.

References

Aldao, A., Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Schweizer, S. (2010). Emotion-regulation strategies across psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical psychology review, 30(2), 217-237.

Estevez, A., Jauregui, P., Sanchez-Marcos, I., Lopez-Gonzalez, H., & Griffiths, M. D. (2017). Attachment and emotion regulation in substance addictions and behavioral addictions. Journal of behavioral addictions, 6(4), 534-544.

Ferrer, R. A., & Mendes, W. B. (2018). Emotion, health decision making, and health behaviour.

Gross, J. J., & Jazaieri, H. (2014). Emotion, emotion regulation, and psychopathology: An affective science perspective. Clinical Psychological Science, 2(4), 387-401.

Gyurak, A., Gross, J. J., & Etkin, A. (2011). Explicit and implicit emotion regulation: a dual-process framework. Cognition and emotion, 25(3), 400-412.

Hunter, S. C., Houghton, S., Zadow, C., Rosenberg, M., Wood, L., Shilton, T., & Lawrence, D. (2017). Development of the Adolescent Preoccupation with Screens Scale. BMC public health, 17(1), 652.

Hussain, Z., Griffiths, M. D., & Sheffield, D. (2017). An investigation into problematic smartphone use: The role of narcissism, anxiety, and personality factors. Journal of behavioral addictions, 6(3), 378-386.

Pearson, C., & Hussain, Z. (2016). Smartphone addiction and associated psychological factors. Addicta: The Turkish Journal of Addictions.

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