Comparison of risk and protective factors associated with smartphone addiction and Internet addiction

J Behav Addict. 2015 Dec;4(4):308-14. doi: 10.1556/2006.4.2015.043.


Background and aims: Smartphone addiction is a recent concern that has resulted from the dramatic increase in worldwide smartphone use. This study assessed the risk and protective factors associated with smartphone addiction in college students and compared these factors to those linked to Internet addiction.

Methods: College students (N = 448) in South Korea completed the Smartphone Addiction Scale, the Young's Internet Addiction Test, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, the Beck Depression Inventory I, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Trait Version), the Character Strengths Test, and the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale. The data were analyzed using multiple linear regression analyses.

Results: The risk factors for smartphone addiction were female gender, Internet use, alcohol use, and anxiety, while the protective factors were depression and temperance. In contrast, the risk factors for Internet addiction were male gender, smartphone use, anxiety, and wisdom/knowledge, while the protective factor was courage. Discussion These differences may result from unique features of smartphones, such as high availability and primary use as a tool for interpersonal relationships.

Conclusions: Our findings will aid clinicians in distinguishing between predictive factors for smartphone and Internet addiction and can consequently be utilized in the prevention and treatment of smartphone addiction.

Keywords: Internet addiction; character strengths; gender differences; resilience; smartphone addiction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety* / diagnosis
  • Anxiety* / epidemiology
  • Anxiety* / etiology
  • Behavior, Addictive* / diagnosis
  • Behavior, Addictive* / epidemiology
  • Behavior, Addictive* / psychology
  • Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale
  • Depression* / diagnosis
  • Depression* / epidemiology
  • Depression* / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Protective Factors
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smartphone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Grant support

Funding sources: Funding for this study was provided by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea (A120157). The funders had no role in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of data, writing of the manuscript, and the decision to submit the paper for publication.