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A study to evaluate the behavioral dimensions of “Nomophobia” and attitude toward smartphone usage among medical students in Bengaluru

Nalini V Mallya, Sunil Kumar D R, Siddaling Mashal.

Background: Smartphones have become the most popular electronic gadgets in India and student communities across the country have been in awe of these devices. Medical students have found profound applications of smartphones in their course besides the primary purpose of communication. With the ever-increasing utilization of smartphones, several psychological and behavioral problems have emerged. Among them, nomophobia has been one of the alarming constructs.

Aims and Objectives: This study aims to estimate the prevalence of nomophobia among medical students, to evaluate the sociobehavioral determinants of nomophobia, and to explore the behavioral subdimensions of nomophobia along with attitude of medical students toward smartphone usage.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional design was used to conduct the study among the 1st year medical students of a private medical college in rural Bengaluru. Data were collected using pretested questionnaire and analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2010 and SPSS software (Version 24).

Results: In the current study, majority of the subjects were frank nomophobics (86.9%), 13% were at risk of developing nomophobia, and only 7.6% were normal. It revealed “annoyance for not being able to use smartphone, clinging to phone all the time, feeling stressed if not using the phone, knowing the adverse impact on academic performance, sleep deprivation, and compulsiveness for taking calls while studying” as the most recurring responses in terms of psychological and behavioral attributes of nomophobia. There was a statistically significant association between gender and nomophobia (P = 0.003) and also between perceived smartphone addiction and nomophobia (P = 0.0001).

Conclusion: The current study supports the trend toward increased prevalence of nomophobia among medical students. In addition, nomophobia has shown a female preponderance. The present study also highlights the evolving psychological and behavioral dimensions among smartphone users such as compulsiveness, annoyance, stress, poor academic performance, and clinginess to smartphones.

Key words: Attitude; Behavioral Dimensions; Medical Students; Nomophobia; Smartphone

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