Predicting Nomophobia According to Mood Status and Anxiety Sensitivity: Analyzing the Moderating Role of Gender

Document Type : Original Article


1 Educational psychology department, faculty of Education and Psychology, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran

2 psychology department, faculty of psychology and education, Semnan university Semnan, , Iran

3 psychology department, faculty of psychology and education, Semnan University, Semnan, Iran


Introduction: The harmful smartphone use can negatively affect the various aspects of human life. The prevalence of a psychological phenomenon that known as nomophobia is one of the negative influences of it. The purpose of this study was to determine the role of mood status and anxiety sensitivity in predicting nomophobia with regard to the moderating role of gender.
Method: The research methodology was descriptive correlational. The study participants were included 191 (94 girls and 97 boys) undergraduate  Semnan University students that were selected by available sampling method. The data were collected using Nomophobia Questionnaire (NMP-Q), Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) and Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3 (ASI-3). Multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the data.
Results: The results showed that both positive and negative affect, as well as, anxiety sensitivity, positively and significantly predicted nomophobia. Analysis of the moderating effects of gender role also revealed that only positive affect, in boys and negative affect in girls could predict nomophobia. Although anxiety sensitivity was a positive predictor of nomophobia in both groups, the predictor coefficient was higher in boys.
Conclusion: The results indicated mood and cognitive readiness for vulnerability to the nomophobia and the patterns of this vulnerability in female and male students were different.


1. Yildirim C, Correia A-P. Exploring the dimensions of nomophobia: Development and validation of a self-reported questionnaire. Computers in Human Behavior. 2015; 49: 130-7.
2. Bianchi A, Phillips JG. Psychological predictors of problem mobile phone use. CyberPsychology & Behavior. 2005; 8(1): 39-51.
3. Park N, Kim Y-C, Shon HY, Shim H. Factors influencing smartphone use and dependency in South Korea. Computers in Human Behavior. 2013; 29(4): 1763-70.
4. Gezgin D, Sahin Y, Yildirim S. The Investigation of Social Network Users’ Nomophobia Levels regarding to various Factors [Sosyal Ağ kullanıcıları arasinda nomofobi yayginliğinin çeşitli faktörler açısından incelenmesi]. Educational Technology Theory and Practice. 2017; 7(1): 1-15.
5. Yildirim C, Sumuer E, Adnan M, Yildirim S. A growing fear: Prevalence of nomophobia among Turkish college students. Information Development. 2016; 32(5): 1322-31.
6. King ALS, Valença AM, Silva A, Baczynski T, Carvalho M, Nardi AE. Nomophobia: Dependency on virtual environments or social phobia? Computers in Human Behavior. 2013; 29(1): 140-4.
7. King ALS, Guedes E, Neto JP, Guimarães F, Nardi AE. Nomophobia: Clinical and demographic profile of social network excessive users. J Addict Res Ther. 2017; 8(339): 2.
8. King ALS, Valença AM, Nardi AE. Nomophobia: the mobile phone in panic disorder with agoraphobia: reducing phobias or worsening of dependence? Cognitive and Behavioral neurology. 2010; 23(1): 52-4.
9. King ALS, Valença AM, Silva AC, Sancassiani F, Machado S, Nardi AE. “Nomophobia”: Impact of cell phone use interfering with symptoms and emotions of individuals with panic disorder compared with a control group. Clinical practice and epidemiology in mental health: CP & EMH. 2014; 10: 28.
10. Bragazzi NL, Del Puente G. A proposal for including nomophobia in the new DSM-V. Psychology research and behavior management. 2014; 7: 155-60.
11. Szyjkowska A, Gadzicka E, Szymczak W, Bortkiewicz A. The risk of subjective symptoms in mobile phone users in Poland–an epidemiological study. International journal of occupational medicine and environmental health. 2014; 27(2): 293-303.
12. Lee S, Kim M, Mendoza JS, McDonough IM. Addicted to cellphones: exploring the psychometric properties between the nomophobia questionnaire and obsessiveness in college students. Heliyon. 2018; 4(11): e00895.
13. Durak HY. Investigation of nomophobia and smartphone addiction predictors among adolescents in Turkey: Demographic variables and academic performance. The Social Science Journal. 2019; in press.
14. Przybylski AK, Murayama K, DeHaan CR, Gladwell V. Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior. 2013; 29(4): 1841-8.
15. Akun A, Andreani W, editors. Powerfully tecnologized, powerlessly connected: The psychosemiotics of nomophobia. 2017 10th International Conference on Human System Interactions (HSI); 2017: IEEE.
16. Tams S, Legoux R, Leger P-M. Smartphone withdrawal creates stress: A moderated mediation model of nomophobia, social threat, and phone withdrawal context. Computers in Human Behavior. 2018; 81: 1-9.
17. Uysal Ş, Özen H, Madenoğlu C. Social phobia in higher education: the influence of nomophobia on social phobia. The Global e-learning Journal. 2016; 5(2): 1-8.
18. Han S, Kim KJ, Kim JH. Understanding nomophobia: structural equation modeling and semantic network analysis of smartphone separation anxiety. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 2017; 20(7): 419-27.
19. Lukacs A, Tavolacci M, Kiss-Toth E, Sasvar P, Ladner J, editors. Internet addiction in university students: Cross-border study in Algeria, France, Hungary. 5th European Symposium on Substance Use, other Health Behaviours in Students Conference 30th June, 1st July. 2016.
20. Salehan M, Negahban A. Social networking on smartphones: When mobile phones become addictive. Computers in Human Behavior. 2013; 29(6): 2632-9.
21. Lee Y-K, Chang C-T, Lin Y, Cheng Z-H. The dark side of smartphone usage: Psychological traits, compulsive behavior and technostress. Computers in human behavior. 2014; 31: 373-83.
22. Nolen-Hoeksema S, Fredrickson B, Loftus G, Wagenaar W. Atkinson & Hilgard's introduction to psychology. translation by: Rafiei H, Arjmand M. Tehran: Arjmand Publications. 2015.
23. Watson D, Tellegen A. Toward a consensual structure of mood. Psychological bulletin. 1985; 98(2): 219- 35.
24. Watson D. Differentiating the mood and anxiety disorders: A quadripartite model. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2009; 5: 221-47.
25. Gezgin DM, Çakır Ö. Analysis of nomofobic behaviors of adolescents regarding various factors. Journal of Human Sciences. 2016; 13(2): 2504-19.
26. Clayton RB, Leshner G, Almond A. The extended iSelf: The impact of iPhone separation on cognition, emotion, and physiology. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 2015; 20(2): 119-35.
27. Wolniewicz CA, Tiamiyu MF, Weeks JW, Elhai JD. Problematic smartphone use and relations with negative affect, fear of missing out, and fear of negative and positive evaluation. Psychiatry research. 2018; 262: 618-23.
28. Kenney EL, Gortmaker SL. United States adolescents' television, computer, videogame, smartphone, and tablet use: associations with sugary drinks, sleep, physical activity, and obesity. The Journal of pediatrics. 2017; 182: 144-9.
29. Alkozei A, Cooper PJ, Creswell C. Emotional reasoning and anxiety sensitivity: Associations with social anxiety disorder in childhood. Journal of affective disorders. 2014; 152: 219-28.
30. Cox BJ, Borger SC, Enns MW. Anxiety sensitivity and emotional disorders: Psychometric studies and their theoretical implications. Anxiety sensitivity: Theory, research, and treatment of the fear of anxiety. 1999: 115-48.
31. McNally RJ. Is anxiety sensitivity distinguishable from trait anxiety? Reply to Lilienfeld, Jacob, and Turner. 1989; 98(2): 193-4.
32. Schmidt NB, Zvolensky MJ, Maner JK. Anxiety sensitivity: Prospective prediction of panic attacks and Axis I pathology. Journal of psychiatric research. 2006; 40(8): 691-9.
33. Zinbarg RE, Barlow DH, Brown TA. Hierarchical structure and general factor saturation of the Anxiety Sensitivity Index: Evidence and implications. Psychological assessment. 1997; 9(3): 277.
34. Schmidt NB, Buckner JD, Keough ME. Anxiety sensitivity as a prospective predictor of alcohol use disorders. Behavior Modification. 2007; 31(2): 202-19.
35. Zvolensky MJ, Schmidt NB, Bernstein A, Keough ME. Risk-factor research and prevention programs for anxiety disorders: A translational research framework. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2006; 44(9): 1219-39.
36. Hovenkamp-Hermelink JH, Voshaar RCO, Batelaan NM, Penninx BW, Jeronimus BF, Schoevers RA, et al. Anxiety sensitivity, its stability and longitudinal association with severity of anxiety symptoms. Scientific reports. 2019; 9(1): 4314.
37. Olthuis JV, Watt MC, Stewart SH. Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI-3) subscales predict unique variance in anxiety and depressive symptoms. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2014; 28(2): 115-24.
38. Deacon B, Abramowitz J. Anxiety sensitivity and its dimensions across the anxiety disorders. Journal of anxiety disorders. 2006; 20(7): 837-57.
39. Jurin T, Biglbauer S. Anxiety sensitivity as a predictor of panic disorder symptoms: a prospective 3-year study. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping. 2018; 31(4): 365-74.
40. Schmidt NB, Mitchell MA, Richey JA. Anxiety sensitivity as an incremental predictor of later anxiety symptoms and syndromes. Comprehensive Psychiatry. 2008; 49(4): 407-12.
41. Mavissakalian M, Perel J, Talbott-Green M, Sloan C. Gauging the effectiveness of extended imipramine treatment for panic disorder with agoraphobia. Biological Psychiatry. 1998; 43(11): 848-54.
42. Smits JA, Powers MB, Cho Y, Telch MJ. Mechanism of change in cognitive-behavioral treatment of panic disorder: evidence for the fear of fear mediational hypothesis. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. 2004; 72(4):  646.
43. Mashhadi A, Gasempoor A, Akbari E, ElBeigi R, Hasanzadeh S. The role of anxiety sensitivity and emotion regulation in prediction of students social anxiety disorder. Knowledge Research Applied Psychology. 2013; 14(2): 89-99.
44. Olatunji BO, Wolitzky-Taylor KB. Anxiety sensitivity and the anxiety disorders: a meta-analytic review and synthesis. Psychological bulletin. 2009; 135(6): 974.
45. Taylor S, Koch WJ, McNally RJ. How does anxiety sensitivity vary across the anxiety disorders? Journal of anxiety disorders. 1992; 6(3): 249-59.
46. Locker D, Shapiro D, Liddell A. Overlap between dental anxiety and blood-injury fears: psychological characteristics and response to dental treatment. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 1997; 35(7): 583-90.
47. van Wijk AJ, de Jongh A, Lindeboom JA. Anxiety sensitivity as a predictor of anxiety and pain related to third molar removal. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 2010; 68(11): 2723-9.
48. Kılıç C, Ak S, Ak HB. Anxiety sensitivity: Another reason to separate dental fears from blood–injury fears? Journal of anxiety disorders. 2014; 28(2): 280-2.
49. Elhai JD, Levine JC, O’Brien KD, Armour C. Distress tolerance and mindfulness mediate relations between depression and anxiety sensitivity with problematic smartphone use. Computers in Human Behavior. 2018; 84: 477-84.
50. Nagpal SS, Kaur R. Nomophobia: The problem lies at our fingertips. Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing. 2016; 7(12).
51. Stewart SH, Taylor S, Baker JM. Gender differences in dimensions of anxiety sensitivity. Journal of anxiety disorders. 1997; 11(2): 179-200.
52. Norr AM, Albanese BJ, Allan NP, Schmidt NB. Anxiety sensitivity as a mechanism for gender discrepancies in anxiety and mood symptoms. Journal of psychiatric research. 2015; 62: 101-7.
53. Rozgonjuk D, Elhai J, editors. Problematic smartphone usage, emotion regulation, and social and non-social smartphone use. Proceedings of the Technology, Mind, and Society. 2018; ACM.
54. DeMartini KS, Carey KB. The role of anxiety sensitivity and drinking motives in predicting alcohol use: A critical review. Clinical psychology review. 2011; 31(1): 169-77.
55. Adawi M, Bragazzi NL, Argumosa-Villar L, Boada-Grau J, Vigil-Colet A, Yildirim C, et al. Translation and validation of the Nomophobia questionnaire in the Italian language: exploratory factor analysis. JMIR mHealth and uHealth. 2018; 6(1): e24.
56. Watson D, Clark LA, Tellegen A. Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. Journal of personality and social psychology. 1988; 54(6): 1063.
57. Dahiya R, Rangnekar S. Validation of the positive and negative affect schedule (PANAS) among employees in Indian manufacturing and service sector organisations. Industrial and Commercial Training. 2019; 51(3): 184-94.
58. von Humboldt S, Monteiro A, Leal IP. Validation of the PANAS: A measure of positive and negative affect for use with cross-national older adults. Review of European Studies. 2017; 9(2): 10-9.
59. Bakhshipour R, Dezhkam M. A confirmatory factor analysis of the positive affect and negative affect scales (PANAS). 2006.
60. Reiss S, Peterson RA, Gursky DM, McNally RJ. Anxiety sensitivity, anxiety frequency and the prediction of fearfulness. Behaviour research and therapy. 1986; 24(1): 1-8.
61. Taylor S, Zvolensky MJ, Cox BJ, Deacon B, Heimberg RG, Ledley DR, et al. Robust dimensions of anxiety sensitivity: development and initial validation of the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3. Psychological assessment. 2007; 19(2): 176.
62. Wheaton MG, Deacon BJ, McGrath PB, Berman NC, Abramowitz JS. Dimensions of anxiety sensitivity in the anxiety disorders: Evaluation of the ASI-3. Journal of Anxiety disorders. 2012; 26(3): 401-8.
63. Cai W, Dong W, Pan Y, Wei C, Zhang S, Tian B, et al. Reliability, validation and norms of the Chinese version of Anxiety Sensitivity Index 3 in a sample of military personnel. PloS one. 2018; 13(8): e0201778.
64. Farris SG, DiBello AM, Allan NP, Hogan J, Schmidt NB, Zvolensky MJ. Evaluation of the Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3 among treatment-seeking smokers. Psychological assessment. 2015; 27(3): 1123.
65. Moradimanesh F, MirJafari S, Goudarzi M, Mohammad N. Examine the psychometric properties of the anxiety sensitivity index revised. Quarterly Journal of Psychology (University of Tabriz). 2007; 11: 426-46.
66. Argumosa-Villar L, Boada-Grau J, Vigil-Colet A. Exploratory investigation of theoretical predictors of nomophobia using the Mobile Phone Involvement Questionnaire (MPIQ). Journal of adolescence. 2017; 56: 127-35.
67. Ferraro R, Escalas JE, Bettman JR. Our possessions, our selves: Domains of self‐worth and the possession–self link. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2011; 21(2): 169-77.
68. Kardefelt-Winther D. A conceptual and methodological critique of internet addiction research: Towards a model of compensatory internet use. Computers in Human Behavior. 2014; 31: 351-4.
69. Posner J, Russell JA, Peterson BS. The circumplex model of affect: An integrative approach to affective neuroscience, cognitive development, and psychopathology. Development and psychopathology. 2005; 17(3): 715-34.
70. Ayadi N, Abbasi M, Pirani Z, Taghvayi D, Pirani A. The relationship between emotions'control, distress tolerance and harmful use of cell phones among students. 2016; 7(1): 145-62.
71. Li X, Newman J, Li D, Zhang H. Temperament and adolescent problematic Internet use: The mediating role of deviant peer affiliation. Computers in Human Behavior. 2016; 60: 342-50.
72. Gentina E, Tang TL-P, Dancoine P-F. Does Gen Z's emotional intelligence promote iCheating (cheating with iPhone) yet curb iCheating through reduced nomophobia? Computers & Education. 2018; 126: 231-47.