Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yet Another Entry for DSM-V: Nomophobia?

From The Indian Journal of Community Medicine, a study by Dixit, Shukla, et. al.

Nomophobia(1) literally means no mobile phobia that is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. If a person is in an area of no network, has run out of balance or even worse run out of battery, the persons gets anxious, which adversely affects the concentration level of the person. In recent times there seems to have been a transformation of the cell phone from a status symbol to a necessity because of the countless perks that a mobile phone provides like personal diary, email dispatcher, calculator, video game player, camera and music player.(2) Indian market has emerged as the second-largest market after China for mobile phone handsets. Our study was undertaken to find out the prevalence of nomophobia in the Indian scenario considering the tremendous increase in the number of mobile phone users in the past decade. We decided to conduct the study in our college since the younger generation is the latest consumer of the mobile phones, and the under 25 year age group in professional colleges like medical colleges use mobile phones quite frequently since most of them reside in hostels. Day scholar students too want to be in constant touch with their family members and friends since they are out of their homes for the whole day and at nights while studying in colleges and working in hospitals.

The study goes on to say:

A study from United Kingdom on 2163 people revealed that 53% of the subjects tend to be anxious when they lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit or have no network coverage. The study found that about 58% of men and 48% of women suffer from the phobia, and an additional 9% feel stressed when their mobile phones are off. About 55% of those surveyed cited keeping in touch with friends or family as the main reason that they got anxious when they could not use their mobile phones.(1) A study conducted by Market Analysis and Consumer Research Organization (MACRO) in Mumbai to study the various patterns and association of mobile phone usage reported that 58% of the respondents could not manage without a mobile phone even for a day.(2)


Unknown said...

If mine goes below 75%, I's plugged into the charger 99.9% of the time. My charger goes everywhere I go :)

Sunny CA said...

"53% of the subjects tend to be anxious when they lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit or have no network coverage. The study found that about 58% of men and 48% of women suffer from the phobia, and an additional 9% feel stressed when their mobile phones are off. About 55% of those surveyed cited keeping in touch with friends or family as the main reason that they got anxious"

At least that report, if not the original study is lumping together too much that is not related.

Losing one's mobile phone is a lot different from the rest, because if stolen, the thief may quickly ring up charges that have to be disputed, and the thief has access to personal information in the phone. In addition, a replacement phone either incurs a large fee or a longer contract commitment, so is an unhappy consequence, which may also include loss of phone numbers. I have not figured out how to export my contact list except one contact at a time, so don"t want to lose it.

Battery or signal loss or loss of network can cause one to fail to meet social obligations, so aren't good situations. I had 3 "landlines" and now only have my cell phone, so a cell phone is no longer an add-on. I wonder in the "old days" pre-cellular if people were anxious when their land-line was "out"? I'd bet they were. If there is a fire or break-in or medical emergency, you can't call for help, for one thing.

(Blogger's new "prove you are not a robot" letters are too difficult for me to interpret much of the time and the program stubbornly refuses to give different options. I have never seen such hard ones.)

Simple Citizen said...

Maybe this is the replacement for Histrionic Personality disorder?

Liz said...

I freak out when my electric goes out, too. Does this mean I have no-electiciphobia?

Anonymous said...

And is the treatment of choice an SSRI?

Sorry, I am angry after reading how grief is being medicalized.

Back on topic - I experienced this when I noticed that for some reason the USB connection on my computer that my cell phone was plugged into wasn't working. Phone was completely dead.

Oh ----. says me, I am not going to be able to take it with me when I going to an appointment. Fortunately, my fear was misplaced as I was able to recharge the battery 2/3 full.


Anonymous said...

Have they created a name for that feeling that arises when yet another notification comes through? The hairs on my arms rise when I hear the ding/vibration. Phonotifiphobia?

Oh, and what about that feeling when you almost drop your phone? Phoopsiphobia?

OH OH I KNOW that awkward, embarrassing feeling when you realize autocorrect changed "home" into "hairy balls" that one time so now you avoid messaging your mother? Autocorrectophobia!

Given most people no longer own (a) a landline phone (b) a calendar (c) an actual address book (d) things you write on with (e) pens and/or pencils (f) calendars/day planners (g) clocks, or the many other useful things you can make your phone do thus rendering the majority of old technology useless, I'd think that some level of fear when something happens to your "phone" would be expected.

53% of us are going to be completely screwed when the zombie apocalypse finally arrives.

Sarebear said...

We haven't had a cell phone in almost 10 years, and when we did have one, it was only for about two years.

Not for any philosophical reasons, it's just too much of an extra. Which is ironic given 5 of those ten years he worked for a cell phone provider and we still couldn't afford it lol.

Knot Telling said...

I'll fess up.

My power was out for about a day this weekend. I felt good, knowing that my mobile was charged up and I could still get/send calls and texts.

I became anxious when I realized that I couldn't check my email because my wireless router was down due to power outage.

I relaxed again when I realized I can use a mobile modem with my laptop.

I became anxious again when I realized that my laptop battery wasn't charged.

At that point I was exhausted and went to bed. I wish this wasn't a true story.

Lessons learned:
1. I am far more attached to email and twitter news feeds than I thought I was.
2. I need to institute regular periods of not being connected every day - if only because I hate being dependent on *anything*.
3. I need to keep my laptop battery charged.

Anonymous said...

I think people have become hung up on being "connected" all of the time. Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Smart can always get a hold of someone. I see people at the university I attend on their Smart Phones and checking their facebook pages. Or texting. I suspect these things have created a fear of being "disconnected" - what if I end up on the side of the road and my phone is dead and I can't call anyone? I need to check such and such friend's facebook page to see how her operation went! etc. I've had many teachers use e-mail as their primary mode of communication, and some have even utilized the Blackboard bulletin board feature. Ugh.

I haven't checked my facebook page in two months - and I don't think I will. I never answer my cell phone, which is not a Smart Phone. I sometimes reply to e-mails. Honestly, I'm around people all day. I want to be left alone. If it's that important, call a few times and I'll get the point.

Anonymous said...

And how exactly was that measured, the 50% who could not manage for a full day? Did they die? Faint? Throw up? Have an allergic reaction to the lack of phone?

Of course not. Teenagers have never died from not using the phone for a day, either, though they were equally (if not more) positive that they would.

This is a silly study. I'm ashamed for all intelligent people anywhere that it even exists.

rob lindeman said...

"Nomophobia literally means no mobile phobia"

No, it doesn't. That would be "Nomophonophobia" or some such thing. They invaded the space occupied by the suffix -phobia (fear). What they created with something roughly equivalent (literally, that is) to "Fear of (Hideki) Nomo" (right handed pitcher, 1995 NL rookie of the year)

Dinah said...

Roni B: how do you cope with power outages?
Sunny CA: You're very analytical.
Simple Citizen: Nah....
Liz: If you freak out when it happens, no, if you worry about it and have anticipatory anxiety, yes.
AA: Symptoms are too acute and short lived for meds. Even a benzo won't kick in before the charge is filled, but it might help for the few hours it takes to replace the phone. I have not tried meds for my technology issues (and I've had many), but sometimes a drink helps and I spend a lot of time venting on more poor co=bloggers.
Anon: I will be in the desperate 53% when the zombie apocalypse comes.
Sarebear: I was less anxious before cell phones. It's like electric car windows, it's not something you ever think you need until you have them, then going back is difficult. Be happy in cell-free life while it lasts.
Knot Telling: I empathize with you.
Anon: The world has changed. Check your FB page, you'll see.
Last Anon: Oh, I actually do know of at least 6 teenagers who went into permanent vegetative states when their phones died. There's now a movement to euthanize teens who are lost to texting:,27225/
Rob: Nomarphobia: fear of making weird twitchy repetitive movements before slugging the ball?

rob lindeman said...



Anonymous said...

I have to say, I really enjoy not having a cell phone. Where I live, we hardly get service, and cell phones are expensive when compared to landlines! I love that I don't have feel like I have to check my messages or respond to texts every minute. Sadly, that's not the case with emails.

Then again, I also live in an area where the power goes out often and we keep jars of water in the cabinets, and lamp oil in the lamps. When the power goes out, we head up to the neighbors and eat the ice cream before it melts.

Seems like keeping things simple might cut down on the anxiety.

Unknown said...

I'll add that to my list of issues. Power outage this week at 4 AM made me nearly twitch with anxiety.

Sarebear said...

I had a dream last night that I got a smart phone, and was clueless about all the different options and touch screen functions and stuff.

Am I getting that old? I was always comfortable with technology, heck I was programming in BASIC as a kid on a Vic 20 with a tape deck drive.

It doesn't help that I'm turning 40 today. Spouse and child taking advantage of opportunities to rib me alot about being older than dirt ;P.