An exploration of problematic smartphone use among Chinese university students: modelling with academic anxiety, academic procrastination, self-regulation and subjective well-being

First published: 10/05/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

Aims: This study aimed to explore the prevalence and correlates of problematic smartphone use among Chinese university students. A number of studies have focused on ‘mobile phone or Internet addiction’ but few have investigated relationships between problematic smartphone use and factors such as academic anxiety, academic procrastination, self-regulation and subjective well-being. Therefore, the current study proposed and tested a hypothetical model of relationships between problematic smartphone use and these factors, based on existing theoretical and empirical literature.

Methods: The study was designed as a survey using self-reported questionnaires to collect quantitative data. Participants were 475 university students in China recruited through convenience sampling. Materials were Chinese translations of published measures of the five study variables (academic anxiety, academic procrastination, self-regulation, life satisfaction and problematic smartphone use). Paper-based questionnaires were distributed and completed during class breaks. Structural equation modelling was applied to test the hypothetical model.

Results: A good model fit was found (CFI = 1.00, RMSEA = .008), in which problematic smartphone predicted academic procrastination (ß = .21, p < .001) and academic anxiety (ß = .18, p < .01). Self-regulation predicted problematic smartphone use (ß = -.35, p < .001), academic anxiety (ß = -.29, p < .001), academic procrastination (ß = -.23, p < .001) and life satisfaction (ß = .23, p < .001).

Conclusions: This study has potential to enhance our understanding of the mental health and well-being of college students, and some mechanisms underpinning it, as well as their approach to academic study.

Conflicts of interest:

no conflict of interest

Mr Zeyang Yang