Sogang News

Highlights table
Title Prof. Kim Jeong-hyun, as Sole Author, Publishes Article on ‘Journal of Media Psychology’ of SSCI
Writer sogpr Date 2017-12-06 Views 911

Prof. Kim Jeong-hyun, as Sole Author, Publishes Article on

‘Journal of Media Psychology’ of SSCI



The study results of a ‘cross-lagged longitudinal study for proving a causal relationship between psychological factors (loneliness and desire for social confidence) and addiction to smartphone’ by Prof. Kim Jeong-hyun at School of Communication of Sogang University will be published on ‘Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications’ of SSCI in the first half of 2018 with Prof. Kim as a sole author.


□ Article Title, Author Information

- Article title: Longitudinal Associations among Psychological Issues and Problematic Use of Smartphone: A Two-Wave Cross-Lagged Study

- Author information: Prof. Kim Jeong-hyun (Sogang University, sole author)

- Will be published on Journal of Media Psychology: Theories, Methods, and Applications (SSCI).


Prof. Kim Jeong-hyun explained the study that ”A mobile phone, especially a smartphone, has been developed as a medium to connect people and allow them to communicate with each other, but recently, its such side effects triggered by excessive dependence on it as addiction to smartphone are frequently discovered and studied,” and further added that “Addiction to smartphone or addiction to media such as addiction to the Internet, which is the basis for smartphone applications, has been found to be related to negative psychological factors such as loneliness and depression, but a causal relationship between the two elements has not been examined. There are firmly opposing arguments, one of which argues that those with negative psychological elements fail to use a smartphone properly and get addicted to the device and the other of which argues that depression or loneliness increases due to excessive use of a smartphone. These studies are holding fast to their own opinions that argue contrary to existence of causal relationships.” 


The necessity of a *longitudinal study as the most appropriate way to clarify a causal relationship between the two elements has steadily come to the fore. This study scrutinized a *cross-lagged model by collecting data from 288 participants across the U.S. for around four to five months to clarify a causal relationship among psychological elements, face-to-face interactions, smartphone-based interactions, and addiction to smartphone.

* Longitudinal study: A study designed to collect data on the same subject repeatedly for a certain period of time to measure changes in the participants.

* Cross-lagged model: A model which measures an impact of a variable (A) on another variable (B) with the course of time, measuring a pure impact with time difference of A on B excluding the impact of B at a previous measuring point on B itself at a subsequent measuring point.


As a result of the longitudinal study for four to five months, it has been found that although unhealthy smartphone use increases loneliness, those with much loneliness are much more prone to addiction to smartphone and suffer from a decreased face-to-face interaction (Fig. 1).


(Fig. 1)


As face-to-face interactions are reduced, an unhealthy dependence on smartphone-based communication (through smartphone messengers or social media) increases, and people come to believe the fantasy that ‘you can be connected to anyone, anytime,’ incited by a variety of communication channels of smartphone. The desire to be connected to and approved by other people is amplified through the fantasy of ‘to anyone, anytime’ provided by smartphone, but communication through a smartphone fails to satisfy the amplified desire since other people neither wait for their contact nor respond immediately. The desire for connection and communication, amplified but not satisfied, increases loneliness, and dependence on and addiction to smartphone that has evolved from the loneliness, ironically, comes to result in a greater loneliness, eventually forming a vicious circle. Above is the tentative conclusion of the longitudinal study (Fig. 2).


(Fig. 2)


This study has proved a causal relationship between addiction to smartphone and negative psychological factors through a cross-lagged longitudinal study, showing that the rich-get-richer logic is also established in addiction to media or unhealthy use of media. Lonely people tend to be poor at interpersonal relationships, easily depending on communication through smartphone and getting addicted to it, instead of selecting a face-to-face interaction. However, the desire to be always connected to other people, the want that has been amplified through smartphone, mostly fails to be satisfied, a result that increases the existing loneliness at last, and produces a tragic result.


Then, what should be done for lonely people or those with other negative psychological factors to weaken the vicious circle in which they suffer from greater pain by depending on a smartphone? Though people with a high degree of loneliness lack self-esteem and face great difficulties in face-to-face interactions, prior studies found that meeting people in person and talking with them plays a role of a buffer or an antidote of a variety of addiction to media including addiction to smartphone. Regardless of age and sex, a face-to-face interaction is of great help for reducing temptation to depend on media and protecting users from a danger of being addicted to media.


There are issues that need to be settled to develop studies in this area. First, as a greater variety of functions are included in smartphones and people come to perform media multitasking at the same time, it is getting more difficult to determine what functions of smartphones people use and to what extent. It is necessary not only to conduct more long-term longitudinal studies for measuring a clear causal relationship between psychological factors and a behavior of using media but also to actively use those software for use records built in smartphones to measure precise behaviors of using media in studies from here on (of course, it is essential to obtain consent from participants in the studies).