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expert reaction to observational study on adverse childhood events and problematic smart phone use across sexual orientation and gender expression

A study published in JAMA Network Open looks at adolescent smart phone use and sexual orientation and gender expression.


Dr Emma Ashworth, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, said:

“The study looked at ‘problematic smartphone use’, defining this using a single measure of smartphone addition which assesses things such as whether adolescents feel uncomfortable or anxious when away from their phone. I think it is important to bear in mind that there were no measures looking at how much time the adolescents were actually spending on their phones, and the study did not explore what adolescents were doing on their phones or what content they were accessing. In other words, the study does not look at whether problematic use is related to increased time spent on the phone, and does not differentiate between adolescents who are using their phones to keep in touch with their friends/browse social media/take photos/play games/access the Internet etc. – so what exactly is ‘problematic’ about their smartphone use or what is making these adolescents feel ‘addicted’ to their smartphone cannot be determined.”


Childhood Adversity and Adolescent Smartphone Use Across Sexual Orientation and Gender Expressionby Xinyu Zheng et al. was published in JAMA Network Open at 16:00 UK time on Friday 12th April.


DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.6448


Declared interests

Dr Emma Ashworth:  No competing interests

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