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Correlation of anxiety, depression, and socioeconomic status with phantom vibration syndrome in healthy individuals

Rajesh M. Desai,Dharmesh K. Patel,Mayank Mohit.


Background: Worldwide, an increasing number of people carry cell phones and utilize the vibration mode to ensure silence in quiet areas. Extensive use of this mode may be associated with the perception that the phone is vibrating when it is not, i.e., the phantom vibration syndrome.

Aims and Objectives: The present study is based on the hypothesis that moderate to extreme levels of anxiety or depression and low socioeconomic status (SES) could predispose such false vibrations. The study also aims to classify the participants into respective classes based on anxiety level, depression level, and SES mentioning the prevalence of phantom vibration in each class and thereby mentioning its relationship, if any.

Materials and Methods: A total of 258 participants were selected from GMERS Medical College, Patan, Government Nursing College, Patan, and Sheth M N Arts and Commerce College, Patan. Participants were asked to respond to self-reported questionnaires. Assessment was done using Hamilton anxiety scale, Hamilton depression scale, and modified Kuppuswamy’s SES scale. Chi-square test was applied for statistical analysis to found the association of anxiety, depression, and SES with phantom vibration syndrome.

Results: Of total participants, 34% of participants had experienced phantom vibrations from the mobile phone. The perceptions were most common among the participants who were associated with frequency of mobile use. Significant association was also found between anxiety/depression and phantom vibration which was in accordance with hypothesis of this study. The study was also based on the hypothesis that low SES could predispose to false vibrations, but we did not find any significant association between phantom vibration syndrome and SES of an individual.

Conclusion: The present study can help to elaborate the ill effects of mobile overuse that might lead to damage in terms of intellectual and cognitive skills. It can also help to determine the factors mediating human behavioral patterns that might lead to such false sensations. A more comprehensive longitudinal study design is needed to validate the phenomena identified in this study and to explore the underlying mechanisms further.

Key words: Anxiety; Depression; Socioeconomic Status; Phantom Vibration Syndrome

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