Cross-generational analysis of predictive factors of addictive behavior in smartphone usage

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Smartphone addiction has been widely researched in recent years, and the effects of various demographic, personality-linked, psychological, and emotional variables, have been found. Our research goal was to examine this phenomenon from the cross-generational perspective and compare the factors that can predict smartphone addiction for different age groups. We conducted a study with 216 Israeli smartphone users, representing three generations of smartphone users: Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z, who filled in an 80-item questionnaire. The factors examined included the social environment pressure to use smartphone, emotional gain from smartphones, personality, daily usage time, various mobile apps and user needs. The main finding of the study is that a significantly higher level of addictive behavior was found for Generation Y compared to the other two generations. The strongest predictive factors in the computed hierarchical regression model for all three generations were social environment pressure and emotional gain. Interestingly, emotional gain from smartphone use, which reflects users' enjoyment and positive emotions along with relief of negative emotions and psychological states, was significantly higher for generation Z than for the older generations. In addition, neuroticism and the daily usage time appeared as predictive factors for the younger generations, and for Generation Z alone the WhatsApp app usage was found as a significant predictive factor as well. This study contributes to understanding the factors of smartphone addictive behavior for different generations, which might lead to more effective educational measures and explanatory campaigns on technology effects on psychological well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-693
Number of pages12
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


  • Behavioral addiction
  • Cross-generation analysis
  • Predictive factors
  • Smartphone addiction
  • Smartphone addictive behavior
  • Smartphone addictive behavior scale


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