Examination of the Relation Between PTSD Symptoms, Smartphone Feature Uses, and Problematic Smartphone Use

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are associated with addictive behaviors including problematic smartphone use (PSU). Drawing from existing theoretical models and empirical work, we examined the relation between PTSD symptoms, social/process-oriented smartphone feature uses, and PSU. Specifically, we examined the correlations between social/process-oriented smartphone feature uses with both PTSD symptom clusters (intrusions, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, alterations in arousal and reactivity) and PSU and the mediating role of social/process-oriented smartphone feature uses in the relation between PTSD symptom clusters and PSU. The current study used data from a sample of 347 community participants recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. Correlation results indicated that process-oriented smartphone feature uses correlated significantly (positively) with all the PTSD symptom clusters and PSU. Further, mediation results indicated that process-oriented smartphone feature use significantly mediated the relationship between each PTSD symptom cluster and PSU. Beyond highlighting the role of process-oriented smartphone feature uses (e.g., watching videos/TV/movies, reading books/magazines, games) in the relation between PTSD symptoms and PSU, our findings suggest that efforts to reduce PSU among individuals with PTSD symptoms should integrate strategies for reducing process-oriented uses of smartphones.

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Social Science Computer Review