Neuroticism and conscientiousness predict problematic smartphone use
In this seminal study we investigated the role of personality in predicting problematic smartphone use. Personality can be defined by broad traits and narrow traits, and in this study we used two dominant models of personality, the Big 5 and HEXACO. The Big 5 are Extraversion , Openness (to Experience), Conscientiousness , Agreeableness , and Neuroticism. The HEXACO model is similar to the Big 5 but includes Honesty-Humility and Emotionality along with Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness (to Experience).
For this study, we invited 393 Australian young adults to answer questions about their personality, level of general smartphone use, and level of problematic smartphone use. The results of the study indicated that people higher on the broad traits of Neuroticism and Emotionality have a higher level of smartphone use, while people higher on the broad trait of Conscientiousness have a lower level of problematic smartphone use.
Specifically, the results of the study also indicated that:
• People higher in impulsiveness, vulnerability, and anxiety have a higher level of problematic smartphone use
• People higher in dutifulness, competence, self-discipline, and deliberation have a lower level of problematic smartphone use
This study was the first to comprehensively map problematic smartphone use onto personality. Although personality is a very stable construct, it’s important to note that it’s not the be all and end all of how you think, feel and behave. In other words, personality is a good indication of how you are likely to act in any given situation. You can learn to consciously manage the way you behave, or think or feel and even learn new was of managing things like problematic smartphone use.