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  • 1 Hankamer School of Business, Marketing Department, Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA
  • 2 Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, USA
  • 3 Hankamer School of Business, Marketing Department, Baylor University, P.O. Box 98007, Waco, TX, 76798-8007, USA
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Abstract

Background and aims

The primary objective of the present research is to investigate the drivers of technological addiction in college students — heavy users of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The study places cell phone and instant messaging addiction in the broader context of consumption pathologies, investigating the influence of materialism and impulsiveness on these two technologies. Clearly, cell phones serve more than just a utilitarian purpose. Cell phones are used in public and play a vital role in the lives of young adults. The accessibility of new technologies, like cell phones, which have the advantages of portability and an ever increasing array of functions, makes their over-use increasingly likely.

Methods

College undergraduates (N = 191) from two U.S. universities completed a paper and pencil survey instrument during class. The questionnaire took approximately 15–20 minutes to complete and contained scales that measured materialism, impulsiveness, and mobile phone and instant messaging addiction.

Results

Factor analysis supported the discriminant validity of Ehrenberg, Juckes, White and Walsh's (2008) Mobile Phone and Instant Messaging Addictive Tendencies Scale. The path model indicates that both materialism and impulsiveness impact the two addictive tendencies, and that materialism's direct impact on these addictions has a noticeably larger effect on cell phone use than instant messaging.

Conclusions

The present study finds that materialism and impulsiveness drive both a dependence on cell phones and instant messaging. As Griffiths (2012) rightly warns, however, researchers must be aware that one's addiction may not simply be to the cell phone, but to a particular activity or function of the cell phone. The emergence of multi-function smart phones requires that research must dig beneath the technology being used to the activities that draw the user to the particular technology.

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Language: English

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Editor(s)-in-Chief: Zsolt Demetrovics

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Assistant Editor(s): Csilla Ágoston

Editorial Board

  • Max W. Abbott (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)
  • Elias N. Aboujaoude (Stanford University School of Medicine, USA)
  • Hojjat Adeli (Ohio State University, USA)
  • Alex Baldacchino (University of Dundee, United Kingdom)
  • Alex Blaszczynski (University of Sidney, Australia)
  • Kenneth Blum (University of Florida, USA)
  • Henrietta Bowden-Jones (Imperial College, United Kingdom)
  • Gerhard Bühringer (Technische Universität Dresden, Germany)
  • Wim van den Brink (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Sam-Wook Choi (Eulji University, Republic of Korea)
  • Damiaan Denys (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Jeffrey L. Derevensky (McGill University, Canada)
  • Naomi Fineberg (University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom)
  • Marie Grall-Bronnec (University Hospital of Nantes, France)
  • Jon E. Grant (University of Minnesota, USA)
  • Mark Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom)
  • Heather Hausenblas (Jacksonville University, USA)
  • Tobias Hayer (University of Bremen, Germany)
  • Susumu Higuchi (National Hospital Organization Kurihama Medical and Addiction Center, Japan)
  • David Hodgins (University of Calgary, Canada)
  • Eric Hollander (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, USA)
  • Jaeseung Jeong (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea)
  • Yasser Khazaal (Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland)
  • Orsolya Király (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Emmanuel Kuntsche (La Trobe University, Australia)
  • Hae Kook Lee (The Catholic University of Korea, Republic of Korea)
  • Michel Lejoyeux (Paris University, France)
  • Anikó Maráz (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Giovanni Martinotti (‘Gabriele d’Annunzio’ University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy)
  • Frederick Gerard Moeller (University of Texas, USA)
  • Daniel Thor Olason (University of Iceland, Iceland)
  • Nancy Petry (University of Connecticut, USA)
  • Bettina Pikó (University of Szeged, Hungary)
  • Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar (Teheran University of Medical Sciences, Iran)
  • József Rácz (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary)
  • Rory C. Reid (University of California Los Angeles, USA)
  • Marcantanio M. Spada (London South Bank University, United Kingdom)
  • Daniel Spritzer (Study Group on Technological Addictions, Brazil)
  • Dan J. Stein (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Sherry H. Stewart (Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • Attila Szabó (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Ferenc Túry (Semmelweis University, Hungary)
  • Alfred Uhl (Austrian Federal Health Institute, Austria)
  • Johan Vanderlinden (University Psychiatric Center K.U.Leuven, Belgium)
  • Alexander E. Voiskounsky (Moscow State University, Russia)
  • Kimberly Young (Center for Internet Addiction, USA)

Dr. Zsolt Demetrovics
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