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BMC Psychiatry. 2017 Oct 10;17(1):341. doi: 10.1186/s12888-017-1503-z.

Gender differences in factors associated with smartphone addiction: a cross-sectional study among medical college students.

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School of Public Health, Wannan Medical College, 22 West wenchang Road, Wuhu, Anhui Province, 241002, China.
School of Public Health, Wannan Medical College, 22 West wenchang Road, Wuhu, Anhui Province, 241002, China.



Smartphones are becoming increasingly indispensable in everyday life for most undergraduates in China, and this has been associated with problematic use or addiction. The aim of the current study was to investigate the prevalence of smartphone addiction and the associated factors in male and female undergraduates.


This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2016 and included 1441 undergraduate students at Wannan Medical College, China. The Smartphone Addiction Scale short version (SAS-SV) was used to assess smartphone addiction among the students, using accepted cut-offs. Participants' demographic, smartphone usage, and psycho-behavioral data were collected. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to seek associations between smartphone addiction and independent variables among the males and females, separately.


The prevalence of smartphone addiction among participants was 29.8% (30.3% in males and 29.3% in females). Factors associated with smartphone addiction in male students were use of game apps, anxiety, and poor sleep quality. Significant factors for female undergraduates were use of multimedia applications, use of social networking services, depression, anxiety, and poor sleep quality.


Smartphone addiction was common among the medical college students investigated. This study identified associations between smartphone usage, psycho-behavioral factors, and smartphone addiction, and the associations differed between males and females. These results suggest the need for interventions to reduce smartphone addiction among undergraduate students.


Anxiety; Depression; Problematic smartphone use; Sleep quality; Smartphone addiction

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