Fear of missing out, reflective smartphone disengagement, and loneliness in late adolescents

Author(s)
Jörg Matthes, Anja Stevic, Kevin Koban, Marina Frederike Thomas, Michaela Forrai, Kathrin Karsay
Abstract

Reflective smartphone disengagement (i.e., deliberate actions to self-regulate when and how one should use one's smartphone) has become a necessary skill in our ever-connected lives, contributing to a healthy balance of related benefits and harms. However, disengaging from one's smartphone might compete with impulsive psychosocial motivators such as fear of missing out (FoMO) on others' rewarding experiences or feelings of loneliness. To shed light into these competitive processes, the present paper disentangles the reciprocal, over-time relationships between reflective smartphone disengagement, FoMO, and loneliness using data from a two-wave panel study among emerging adults (16-21 years of age). Measurement-invariant structural equation modeling suggests that FoMO and reflective smartphone disengagement negatively predict each other over time, indicating a possible spiraling process. In addition, reflective smartphone disengagement was also negatively related to feelings of loneliness. Together, these findings underline (a) how young people's impulsive and reflective system compete with each other over control of their smartphone usage, where (b) psychosocial benefits of reflective smartphone disengagement were validated among emerging adults, potentially helping them to strengthen the benefits and limit the harms of permanent interactions with and through technology.

Organisation(s)
Department of Communication
Journal
CyberPsychology, Behavior and Social Networking
Volume
26
Pages
731-738
No. of pages
8
ISSN
2152-2715
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2023.0014
Publication date
08-2023
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
508007 Communication science
Keywords
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Communication, Social Psychology, Human-Computer Interaction, Applied Psychology, Computer Science Applications
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/fear-of-missing-out-reflective-smartphone-disengagement-and-loneliness-in-late-adolescents(371f81cc-b2b8-4194-8426-1d11254d99dd).html