The Effect of Interactive Electronics Use on Psychological Well Being and Interpersonal Relationship Quality in Adults

(1) Dos Pueblos High School, Goleta, CA

A significant body of research focuses on the adverse effects of the overuse of electronics on young children and adolescents. The objective of the current study was to examine in adults, the relationship between the usage level of interactive electronic devices (computers, smartphones, and digital tablets) and (i) level of depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness; and (ii) quality of interpersonal relationships. Three measures of the level of interactive electronics usage were considered: Internet addiction Test (IAT) score, hours per day of work related use, and hours per day of non-work related use. In this study, 265 adult participants took an online survey that was used to determine values for psychological and interpersonal relationship scores, along with values for the three measures of the level of interactive electronics usage. The study results support the hypothesis that for the participant population, a higher IAT score is significantly correlated with a higher level of depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness, as well as with diminished relationship quality. By contrast, psychological well-being and relationship quality did not show a significant correlation with hours per day of either work related or non-work related use of interactive electronics. The study discussion addresses the implications of interactive electronics as a public health concern and suggests possible directions for further analyses.

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health psychology internet social media smartphone