'Impulsive behaviour drives cellphone addiction'
Impulsive behaviour and materialism drive cellphone use and instant messaging addictions, comparable to compulsive buying and credit card misuse, according to an American study.
"Cellphones are a part of our consumer culture," said study co-author James Roberts, professor of marketing at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business. "They are not just a consumer tool but are used as a status symbol. They're also eroding our personal relationships."
Previous studies have shown that young adults send an average of 109.5 text messages a day or approximately 3,200 texts each month, the Journal of Behavioural Addictions reports.
They receive an additional 113 text messages and check their cell 60 times in a typical day and on average. College students spend approximately seven hours daily interacting with information and communication technology, according to a Baylor statement.
Roberts, who co-authored the study with Stephen Pirog III, associate professor of marketing at Seton Hall University, found that materialism and impulsiveness drive cellphone addiction.
Cellphones are used as part of the conspicuous consumption ritual and also act as a pacifier for the impulsive tendencies of the user, according to Roberts. Impulsiveness, he noted, plays an important role in both behavioural and substance addictions.
This study is the first to investigate the role materialism plays in cellphone addiction. According to Roberts, materialism is an important consumer value that impacts many of the decisions we make as consumers.
Data for this study come from self-report surveys of 191 business students at two U.S. universities. Cellphones are used by approximately 90 percent of college students, and said Roberts, "serve more than just a utilitarian purpose."