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Psychiatry Investig > Volume 20(9); 2023 > Article
Psychiatry Investigation 2023;20(9):843-852.
DOI:    Published online September 19, 2023.
Problematic Smartphone Use and Its Relationship With Anxiety and Suicidal Ideation Among South Korean Adolescents
Mi-Sun Lee  , Hooyeon Lee 
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Correspondence: Hooyeon Lee ,Tel: +82-2-3147-8381, Fax: +82-2-532-3820, Email:
Received: February 13, 2023   Revised: April 13, 2023   Accepted: June 27, 2023   Published online: September 19, 2023
This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of problematic smartphone use (PSU) among adolescents and its association with anxiety and suicidal ideation.
The 16th cross-sectional, population-based Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-Based Survey was administered in 2020 and included 54,948 adolescents. We used the Korean version of the smartphone overdependence scale and the 7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale to assess PSU and anxiety. Suicidal ideation was assessed through responses to the self-report question. Multiple logistic regression analyses with complex sampling were conducted to identify the association of PSU with anxiety and suicidal ideation.
In total, 25.1% of the adolescents reported PSU, 33.2% had anxiety symptoms, and 10.9% had seriously considered suicide during the past 12 months. Girls with PSU had a higher risk of anxiety (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.65 to 2.97) and suicidal ideation (aOR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.64 to 1.91) than non-PSU girls. Boys with PSU reported more anxiety (aOR, 2.89; 95% CI, 2.72 to 3.07) and suicidal ideation (aOR, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.66 to 1.99) than the non-PSU group. In addition, girls with the lowest household income reported more suicidal ideation than girls with the highest household income (aOR, 3.40; 95% CI, 2.69 to 4.28).
This study demonstrated the prevalence of PSU among South Korean adolescents in 2020. The prioritization of the detection of PSU and the identification of psychological factors may help improve the diagnosis and management of mental health problems and potentially yield significant psychosocial benefits.
Key words   Smartphone; Problematic smartphone use; Anxiety; Suicidal ideation; Adolescents


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