Although smartphone use brings many benefits for adolescents, it is also associated with many serious health problems. This study examined the relationship between problematic smartphone use (PSU) and clinical health symptoms (e.g., body dysfunction) and the mediating effects of sleep quality on this relationship in adolescents.
Participants in this cross-sectional survey were 686 middle- and high-school students (girls = 55.7%, M age = 12.98 ± 1.38 years). Participants completed self-report measures of PSU, sleep quality, and physical symptoms. Correlation analyses and structural equation modeling between adolescents’ PSU and the variables of interest were conducted.
This study indicated that there was a significant positive correlation between PSU and health symptoms. Furthermore, sleep quality mediated the relationship between PSU and health symptoms.
Findings suggest that to promote health and wellness in adolescents, individuals should be encouraged to place boundaries on smartphone use, especially at bedtime. Reducing adolescents’ exposure to smartphone use in this way may hold promise for improving the efficacy of PSU prevention efforts for adolescents.