Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Health and Society


Background. Smartphones have undeniably made our lives easier and are now a necessary part of our daily lives. However, excessive smartphone use can lead to smartphone addiction. Smartphone addiction is a rising public health concern worldwide, particularly among young people. There are limited empirical studies on smartphone addiction and its impacts on young adults, especially in developing nations like Bangladesh. This study aimed to fill this gap.

Method. This was a mixed-methods study and both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were used for data collection between July 2021 and February 2023. A total of 440 eligible Bangladeshi young adults completed an online survey.

Findings. Nearly half of the young adults (45.0%) owned a smartphone for 5-7 years and 44.5% of the participants used their phone for more than an average of 6-9 hours per day. A concerning 61.4% of the participants were identified as smartphone addicted. Nearly 60% of the participants use social networking their primary use, while around half used smartphones for entertainment purposes. The study identified specific socio-demographic predictors for smartphone addiction, including being male (OR=1.79), aged ≤25 (OR=2.19), unemployed (OR=1.95), and belonging to a large family (OR=3.44). Moreover, Process use, social use, and compulsive usage were main predictors of smartphone addiction. Process usage (OR= 1.14), social usage (OR= 1.11), and compulsive usage (OR= 1.08) increased the possibility of smartphone addiction by 14%, 11%, and 8% respectively. On the other hand, significant other support (OR= 0.96), friend support (OR= 0.95), and family support (OR= 0.96) decreased the possibility of smartphone addiction by 4%, 4% and 5% respectively. Smartphone addicted group had a lower quality of life in the domains of physical, psychological, social, and environmental well-beings compared to the non-addicted groups. Smartphone-addicted participants were more likely to experience discomfort in their shoulders (37%), eyes (57.5%), neck (46.1%), and hands (43.6%). Importantly, smartphone addicted participants were more likely to experience anxiety (40.7%) and depression (40%) compared to their non-addicted counterparts. The HBM analysis indicated negative correlations between perceived susceptibility to smartphone addiction (OR= 0.46); perceived severity of smartphone addiction (OR=0.45); perceived benefits of reducing smartphone use (OR=0.85); and cues to action to reduce smartphone use (OR=0.56) with smartphone addiction. In contrast, perceived barriers to reducing smartphone use (OR=1.17) was positively correlated with smartphone addiction.

A total of 22 participants (10 young adults and 12 experts) participated in the qualitative part of the study. Our results revealed three major themes including factors associated with smartphone addiction, negative consequences of smartphone addiction, and strategies for reducing smartphone addiction. Qualitative analysis revealed that the availability of multiple applications, the attractive design of smartphones, limited outdoor activities, smartphones being a symbol of prestige, peer pressure, and COVID-19 were the primary causes of excessive smartphone use.

Conclusion. This current study highlights the growing public health issue of smartphone addiction. These results revealed that specific interventions are required to improve understanding of responsible smartphone use that promote a better balance between online engagement and general well-being. Finally, this study has important implications for decision makers and highlights the need for smartphone addiction awareness and prevention among young people.

FoR codes (2008)


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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.