Nomophobia, an abbreviation of “No mobile phone phobia”, is characterized by the illogical fear of being detached from the mobile phone or unable to use it. Research have provided evidence of an association between increased cellular phone use and multiple health issues, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and others. To our knowledge, there are no Lebanese studies about nomophobia, despite the high incorporation rate of mobile phones in Lebanon and the likelihood of suffering from anxiety, depression, and other conditions due to nomophobic attitudes. The study objectives were to validate and confirm psychometric properties of the Nomophobia Questionnaire (NMP-Q) and examine the associations between particular psychological conditions (anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia and impulsivity) and nomophobia among a representative sample of Lebanese people.
This cross-sectional study was carried out between January and July 2019. It enrolled 2260 residents of the community randomly selected from Lebanon’s Mohafazat. Two villages per sub-district and households from each village were chosen using a random sampling technique. A questionnaire was distributed randomly to the households. SPSS version 25 was used to perform the statistical analysis. A multinomial regression was computed taking the nomophobia categories as the dependent variable (and taking the absence of nomophobia as the reference category) and all variables that showed a significant association in the bivariate analysis as independent variables.
A total of 2260 (80.71%) out of 2800 questionnaires distributed was collected back. The mean age of the participants was 27.98 ± 9.66 years (58.8% females). Moreover, the mean nomophobia score was 71.56 ± 26.92 (median = 71; minimum = 14; maximum = 140). The results showed that 46 (2.0%) had no nomophobia, 769 (34.1%) mild nomophobia [95% CI 0.322-0.361], 1089 (48.3%) moderate nomophobia [95% CI 0.463-0.504] and 349 (15.5%) severe nomophobia [95% CI 0.140-0.170]. Items of the nomophobia scale converged over a solution of three factors that had an Eigenvalue over 1 (Factor 1 = emotions associated to losing connectedness, Factor 2 = not being able to communicate, Factor 3 = not being able to access information; total variance explained = 66.65%, and Cronbach’s alpha = 0.948). The results of a multinomial regression, taking the nomophobia score as the dependent variable, showed that higher age was significantly associated with lower odds of having mild (aOR = 0.97), moderate (aOR = 0.93) and severe (aOR = 0.97) nomophobia respectively. Higher anxiety (aOR = 1.09) and higher insomnia (aOR = 1.04) were significantly associated with higher odds of having severe nomophobia.
The results suggest a positive correlation between nomophobia and psychological conditions. There is a need for longitudinal and prospective studies that furnish information with regards of the impact of time on the variables measured, in order to better understand the nature, causes, and attributes of nomophobia.