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Nihon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 2006 Jul;53(7):480-92.

[Mobile-phone e-mail use, social networks, and loneliness among Japanese high school students].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

Department of Community Health Nursing, School of Nursing, Chiba University.



The purposes of this study were to assess the loneliness of Japanese high school students who own and use a mobile phone, to clarify the relationships between students' loneliness and their social network and frequency of use of e-mail feature, and to demonstrate relationships with a student's social network and recognition of the benefits and drawbacks of mobile phone use.


The participants were 227 students from two classes in each grade of a high school in the Kanto region of Japan. Participants answered a questionnaire covering the UCLA Loneliness Scale as well as questions pertaining to the circumstances of use of their mobile phones, their social networks (e.g., number of friends), and their perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of mobile phone use. The questionnaires of students owning a mobile phone were analyzed. Total scores for the UCLA Loneliness Scale were calculated, and factor analysis was performed for the benefits and drawbacks.


A total of 220 questionnaires were returned, for which 94.1 percent of respondents owned a mobile phone. The percentages of male and female respondents were 58% and 42%. Chronbach's alpha for the UCLA Loneliness Scale (total score) was 0.87, a result similar to previous studies with high school and university students. Factor analysis revealed five factors associated with the benefits and drawbacks of mobile phone use. Multiple-regression analysis showed that 42.9% of the variance in "frequency of e-mail use" was explained by grade level, frequency of mobile phone use, and two of the five factors from the benefits and drawbacks ("difficulty of communication," and "possible sleep loss due to nighttime e-mailing"). Stepwise multiple-regression analysis revealed that 24.4% of the variance in UCLA Loneliness Score was explained by gender, the frequency of e-mail use, the number of friends and the presence/absence of a girlfriend or boyfriend.


Presence of an active social network and frequent e-mailing by mobile phone reduced students' loneliness. The frequency depended on their recognition of the benefits and drawbacks of mobile phone use and by the frequency of mobile phone use. This study established that students appreciate the usefulness of their mobile phone as an immediate communication tool, and are aware of its limitations. Although they experience frustration and lack of sleep (because of nighttime use), students use mobile phones to deepen their friendships.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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