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Front Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 12;10:105. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00105. eCollection 2019.

Problematic Use of Mobile Phones in Australia…Is It Getting Worse?

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Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety-Queensland (CARRS-Q), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Department of Industrial Engineering, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia.
School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Faculty of Health, Australian Centre for Public and Population Health Research, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW, Australia.
School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Psychology Department, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.


Rapid technological innovations over the past few years have led to dramatic changes in today's mobile phone technology. While such changes can improve the quality of life of its users, problematic mobile phone use can result in its users experiencing a range of negative outcomes such as anxiety or, in some cases, engagement in unsafe behaviors with serious health and safety implications such as mobile phone distracted driving. The aims of the present study are two-fold. First, this study investigated the current problem mobile phone use in Australia and its potential implications for road safety. Second, based on the changing nature and pervasiveness of mobile phones in Australian society, this study compared data from 2005 with data collected in 2018 to identify trends in problem mobile phone use in Australia. As predicted, the results demonstrated that problem mobile phone use in Australia increased from the first data collected in 2005. In addition, meaningful differences were found between gender and age groups in this study, with females and users in the 18-25 year-old age group showing higher mean Mobile Phone Problem Use Scale (MPPUS) scores. Additionally, problematic mobile phone use was linked with mobile phone use while driving. Specifically, participants who reported high levels of problem mobile phone use, also reported handheld and hands-free mobile phone use while driving.


cell phone; driver behavior; human engineering; human-computer interaction; internet addiction; road safety

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