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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 230-233  Table of Contents     

Nomophobia: A rising concern among Indian students


1 Department of Physiotherapy, Galgotias University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Physiotherapy, G. D. Goenka University, Sohna, Haryana, India

Date of Submission14-Jun-2021
Date of Acceptance16-Jul-2021
Date of Web Publication24-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Ravi Kumar
Department of Physiotherapy, Galgotias University, Greater Noida - 203 201, Uttar Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_134_21

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   Abstract 

Background: Nomophobia is defined as “the fear of being without a mobile phone or unable to use it.” Nowadays, it is considered a modern age phobia. It is to be considered as a form of behavioral addiction. Aim: This study aims to determine the level of nomophobia in the Indian population aged between 15 and 35 years. Materials and Methods: A personalized questionnaire was designed in the Google Forms and distributed among the targeted audience. The questionnaire contained three parts: consent letter, sociodemographic details, and nomophobia questionnaire. A total of 2061 valid responses were analyzed in SPSS software. Results: Out of 2061, 52.9% of the respondents were male and 47.1% were female. 92.2% of the respondents were between 18 and 24 years of age group. Moreover, 79.1% of the respondents are undergraduate or pursuing their graduation. 35.5% of the respondents were from metropolitan city, 38.8% were from an urban city, and 12.15% were from a semiurban city, while the rest 13.6% were from rural areas. 74.8% of the respondents were moderate nomophobic, 18.9% were severe nomophobic, and 6.3% were mild nomophobic. Conclusion: In this study, we observed that nomophobia is moderate to severe and that our “physical, mental, and social health” has a major concern.

Keywords: Anxiety disorder, mobile phone addiction, nomophobia, nomophobia questionnaire


How to cite this article:
Kumar R, Kumari S, Bharti P, Sharma D. Nomophobia: A rising concern among Indian students. Ind Psychiatry J 2021;30:230-3

How to cite this URL:
Kumar R, Kumari S, Bharti P, Sharma D. Nomophobia: A rising concern among Indian students. Ind Psychiatry J [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 7];30:230-3. Available from: https://www.industrialpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2021/30/2/230/326640

We live in a world that grows day after day. We cannot even imagine where the world and technology will be in the next 50 years. It saves us time and makes our lives easier and more comfortable. However, gradually, we are being addicted to technology. Similar to mobile phones, they were created only for communication; however, over time, they grew a ton of functionality. In the present time, it is used for multiple purposes. We gradually began to incorporate it into a big part of our lives, and as a result, we were addicted to it. The increased addiction in some people developed into a phobia called nomophobia.[1],[2],[3] It is defined as the fear of living without their mobile. Some individuals have been observed to exhibit problematic or addictive behaviors related to mobile phone use, such as repetitive checking of their mobile,[4] communifaking,[5] and phubbing.[6] The person who shows addictive behavior toward mobile phone is called nomophobics.

Excessive addiction of mobile phones affects health mentally, physically, and socially. They feel angry, disappointed, stressed, irritated, worried, terrified, and more psychological abnormalities, when they lose their mobile phone or run out of battery and network.[7] They decrease their physical activities, and their body becomes feeble. Many physical abnormalities such as muscular stiffness, pain and discomfort in limbs, neck, and back, headaches, and eye strain starts affecting their bodies. It also affects digestion; people may also suffer from low stamina, obesity (increased body weight), and many other abnormalities. This study aims to evaluate the level of nomophobia in Indian students.


   Materials And Methods Top


Study design

This descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted through the help of Google Forms between the 3rd week of January and the last week of February. A personalized e-questionnaire was designed in Google Form and circulated among the students using social media. The survey form consisted of three parts; the first part contained a consent form. The second part contained participant's sociodemographic variables, and the third part contained nomophobia questionnaire (NMP-Q).

Data collection

Snowball sampling techniques were used in this survey to collect valid data from the participants. The questionnaire was sent to the participants via active instant messaging groups on social media platforms and asked to fill survey form. After completing the questionnaire, the participants were asked to share the survey link to their friend's group who owned any smartphone.

Inclusion criteria

  • All participants were Indian
  • All participants were students from different schools/universities/institutions
  • Participants aged between 15 and 35 years were taken in this study because this age group uses long time mobile for various work
  • All participants were using phones from the last 2 years and spent 4 and more hours by using the phone
  • All the participants were mentally stable.


Ethical issues

This study was performed by getting approval by Galgotias University and following all the procedures of ethical standards of the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its amendments.

Participant's data were kept confidential solely to the author and guide to research.

The participant's participation was voluntary. No monetary or nonmonetary incentives were given to any participants, and all participants also had the right to withdraw their data without any explanation.

Measures

Nomophobia questionnaire[8],[9]

Yildirim and Correia's NMP-Q[8] contains 20 questions, and each question scored on a 7-point Likert scale.[10],[11] The total possible score of the NMP-Q is 20 as the lowest (20 × 1) and 140 (7 × 20) as the highest. The questionnaire was based on four factors: (1) not being able to communicate (4 items); (2) losing connectedness (5 items); (3) not being able to access (6 items), and (4) giving up convenience (5 items).[10]

Statistical analysis

SPSS version 27.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA)[12],[13] software was used to perform statistical analysis. Descriptive analysis was performed as frequency and crosstab to summarize sociodemographic details of the participants. Multiverse data analyses were performed to analyze responses to the NMP-Q.


   Results Top


Out of 2079 valid responses, 2061 were screened, AND 18 responses were deleted because their sociodemographic details did not match the inclusion criteria of participation in this study. In total responses, 52.9% of the respondents were male, and the rest 47.1% were female. 92.2% of the respondents were from the 18–24 years of age group, 4.9% were from the 25–35 years of age group, and 2.9% were between 15 and 18 years of age group. 79.1% of the respondents were undergraduate, 12.1% were graduate, 7.8% were postgraduate, and 1% were pursuing their Ph.D. 35.5% of the respondents were from a metropolitan city, 38.8% were from an urban city, 12.1% were from semiurban towns, and 13.6% were from rural areas. [Table 1] shows sociodemographic responses. [Table 2] shows the categories of respondents according to their NMP-Q score. 74.8% of the participants were in moderate and 18.9% of the participants were in severe levels of nomophobia. [Table 3] shows the time of using a phone per day according to their gender, and [Table 4] shows the level of nomophobia according to the mean of phone uses.
Table 1: Sociodemographic response (n=2061)

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Table 2: The categories of respondents according to their nomophobia questionnaire score

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Table 3: The time of using a phone per day according to their gender

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Table 4: The level of nomophobia according to the mean of phone uses

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   Discussions Top


No-mobile phone phobia is also known as “the phobia of 20th century” or “modern age phobia.” According to Datareportal,[14] the number of mobile users worldwide is above 5.22 billion, which is increasing at a high-speed rate. India stands in the second position globally, with more than 1 billion users. Nowadays, mobile phones are necessary for all ages of people from kids to teenagers to adults. We use it for many purposes.

Aside from benefits of mobile phones, it is harmful to our mental and physical health. A recent study[15] shown that the mental health of secondary school students is poorly affected by excessive usages of mobile phone. They were not able to concentrate on their study and became very aggressive at any small things. Further, they felt changes in sleeping patterns; a study[16] had shown that the risk of traffic accidents increases about 3–4 times due to distraction while driving. This study also revealed that the potential of brain cancer in children is more than in adults because children's nervous systems were still developing. There are more vulnerable factors that may cause cancer.

A study[17] indicated that long time exposure of phones per day cause headache, muscle stiffness, sleep disturbances,[18] memory changes, dizziness, depressive symptoms, difficulties in concentration, cramps, and pain in their back and neck. Some people also showed some unusual symptoms, such as over-aggressiveness and avoiding face-to-face meetings.[19] They preferred virtual meet-ups because they were so much involved in phones, and they lost their self-confidence.

This study was an attempt to investigate nomophobia in Indian students. A total of 2061 responses were screened in this study. 52.9% of the respondents were male, and 47.1% were female. 92.2% of the respondents were from the 18–24 years of age group, 4.9% respondents were from the 25–35 years of age group, and 2.9% were below 18. 79.1% of respondents were undergraduate, 12.1% were graduate, 7.8% were postgraduate, and 1% of respondents were pursing their Ph.D. 35.5% of the respondents were from a metropolitan city, 38.8% were from an urban city, 12.1% are from semiurban towns, and 13.6% were from rural areas.

In this study, we found that 74.8% of the participants were in moderate levels of nomophobia, whereas 18.9% of the participants were in severe levels of nomophobia. Males are more affected by nomophobia than the females, it was similar to several study,[20],[21],[22],[23] and the people whose home in metropolitan and urban cities and use the phone more than 5 h per day are highly addicted to mobile phones and have more nomophobia than others.

A research conducted to study mobile phone usage among the teenagers and youth in Mumbai by Market Analysis and Consumer Research Organization[24],[25] reported that 58% of the respondents could not manage a day without their mobile phone.

A study on 2163 people in the United Kingdom reported that 53% of the respondents were anxious when they lost their mobile phone, ran out of battery, or had no network coverage.[26] The study revealed that about 58% of men and 48% of women suffer from nomophobia.[5]


   Conclusion Top


The result of this study indicates that nomophobia is emerging as a big problem to our “physical, mental, and social health.” The parents and government need to take quick action to save children's future.

Limitations

The study is limited to those people who have smartphones and having an understanding of English, so it should not be generalized to the whole population of India.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
   References Top

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R Elmore T. Nomophobia: A Rising Trend in Students. Psychology Today; 2014. Available from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/artificial-maturity/201409/nomophobia-rising-trend-in-students. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 06].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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Yildirim C, Correia AP. Exploring the dimensions of nomophobia: Development and validation of a self-reported questionnaire. Comput Human Behav 2015;49:130-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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