Cell phones and depression severity intrigue scientists. Phones exist everywhere and statistics documents people check their mobile devices approximately 150 times a day. According to Baylor University, the research has proposed the reason for the frequency is due to an attempt to improve a negative mood. Checking emails incessantly, surfing the web, and texting may be a trait of an individual who is attempting a distraction from the worries of the day.
Since cell phones have a large number of sensors, it enables scientists to monitor behavior patterns, which includes symptoms of depression. Depression is a mental health disorder that may often be untreated or undetected. As a result, these clinical opportunities were designed to investigate those at-risk for needed interventions with a nonevasive method.
Cell phones intrigue scientists about depression severity since phones are such a faithful companion going with people to work, the grocery store, shopping plaza, the gym, church, and multiple locations of choice. They are an instrument that people depend upon for financial advice, spelling, finding an unfamiliar location, and learning about a plethora of information. They offer a reminder of anniversaries, appointments, birthdays, and special holidays. Information can be retrieved anytime of the day or night.
It is believed the data from cell phones provides valuable information to scientists. It has been theorized that they know what people do and who they are. Using this data may allow scientists to annotate daily behavioral markers and determine personality issues, emotional instability or addictive patterns.
One of the studies conducted by researchers at the Northwestern University of Feinberg Medical School was exploring the possibility of the smartphone detecting depression. For this specific study, there was a total of 40 participants recruited through Craigslist.
The sensor data was collected from only 2o females and eight males between the ages of 19 and 58. An app called “Purple Robot” gathered the data from a GPS and information from cell phones over a two-week period of time. Additionally, participants were asked to complete several health questionnaires. The results from some of these participants indicated signs and symptoms of depression severity.
In the journal, Personality and Individual Differences, there was a research study conducted with 346 students, who were asked to complete a survey regarding their iPhone use and respond to questions that would analyze openness, extraversion and agreeableness, materialism, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.
Cell phones intrigue scientists about the severity of depression and their studies demonstrated that materialism, temperamental behavior, and a proneness to moodiness were evident. Other tendencies included a lack of ability to focus on the task at hand and an addiction to the smartphone was apparent in those displaying impulsive personalities. No evidence of introversion was apparent.
Larger studies are needed to replicate results. The duplication of this type of study can produce greater results that can help scientists learn more about how people are interacting with technology through cell phone usage.
By Marie A. Wakefield
The Washington Post – How Your Cell Phone Knows If You’re Depressed. It has to Do With How You Move Through Time and Space
Journal of Medical Internet Research – Mobile Phone Sensor Correlates of Depressive Symptom Severity in Daily Life Behavior: An Exploratory Study
The Huffington Post – Your iPhone is Making You Depressed
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