Ark. (September 2, 2020) — While “nomophobia” isn’t a recognized disorder, many
people know the feeling: a panic that arises when they are out of mobile phone
contact—or a similar response to just the idea of losing contact.
on nomophobia in a recent presentation at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s
SLEEP 2020 conference in late August had radio DJs mentioning Hendrix College research
in drive-time sound bites.
The presentation of preliminary results from a collaboration between researchers
at Hendrix and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock revealed that in a
sample of more than 300 college students, 89% experienced moderate or severe
nomophobia. Greater nomophobia correlated to greater daytime sleepiness and
more behaviors associated with poor sleep quality. What’s more, it means the
common recommendation to decrease phone use around bedtime may not help people
who experience nomophobia—limiting their smartphone use before bed might
actually increase anxiety and make it harder to get to sleep and stay asleep.
“The recommendation to curtail bedtime
phone use, which is meant to improve sleep and seems rather straightforward,
might need adjustment or consideration for these individuals,” said Dr.
Jennifer Peszka, the Charles Prentiss Hough Odyssey Professor of Psychology at Hendrix
College and principal investigator on the study.
Co-investigators on this project are Dr.
David Mastin and Dr. Bruce Moore of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock,
and members of the UA Little Rock undergraduate student research team: Shalonda
Michelle, Benjamin T. Collins, Nataly Abu-Halimeh, Monnar Quattom, Maya
Henderson, Madison Sanders, and Jeremiah Critton.
Peszka’s Hendrix undergraduate team (Hayley Chunn ’21,
Justin Lockhart ’19,
Graham Harris ’18, Kelly
Althea Strozier ’17,
Kristi Scott ’18,
Adrian Shuler ’17,
Amy Crump ’18,
Jessica Bonumwezi ’17,
and Alundra Dickson ’17) came up with the idea to explore
nomophobia while considering the larger topic of how technology use in the two
hours before bed affects “sleep hygiene,” or the behaviors and environmental
variables that can improve sleep quality.
have a big question or project that we’re working on, but I encourage my
student researchers to add components to the study that are of particular
interest to them,” she said. “If it makes sense, and we can ask a good question
that contributes to the literature about their topic, then we add it in. The
students thought that ‘cell phone addiction’ might moderate some of the
relationships we examined. That group of students were all pretty high on
nomophobia themselves, so they were really interested in the outcome.”
found it particularly interesting that the percentage of college students who report experiencing nomophobia has risen by
about 12% since 2012, when the nomophobia scale was developed.
may very well be on a rapid rise,” she said. “That may not seem like a very
interesting or concerning development, but here we found that severity of
nomophobia was predictive of sleepiness, which can have a significant impact on
About Hendrix College
A private liberal
arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns
recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is
featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change
the Way You Think About Colleges. Its
academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a
fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876,
Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To
learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.