Research reveals smartphone addicts are more anxious than nature lovers
Tuesday 21st June 2016
Smartphone addicts are more anxious and have lower self-esteem than nature lovers, new research by the University of Derby has revealed.
A team of researchers carried out a survey to study people’s phone use and their connection to nature.
And the study, which is believed to be the first of its kind, has revealed people who are in touch with nature use their phone half as much each day, have significantly higher self-esteem, are significantly more conscientious, emotionally stable and open to new experiences. The survey also showed that smartphone addicts take seven times more selfies and are less sociable than nature lovers.
"Technology can help deliver nature into people's everyday lives"
Lead researcher Dr Miles Richardson, Head of Psychology at the University of Derby, said: “Technology is often cited as a reason for our disconnection from the natural world but smartphones are here to stay.
“Nature connectedness isn't about going back to some halcyon days where we lived in harmony with nature. It's about realising our place in a wider ecology here and now. Technology must play a role in that and smartphones are clearly powerful and engaging tools. The study showed that those more connected to their phones had a latent interest in nature through taking photos of it. Smartphones can foster that interest as we showed with our three good things in nature research – where people prompted to note down the good things in nature each day for five days showed a sustained increase in connection with nature. Technology can help deliver nature into people's everyday lives, helping them realise their place in the wider natural world.”
People more connected with nature used their phone significantly less
The survey was completed online and used scales to measure people’s phone use, connection to nature and personality and self-esteem. Participants also completed an anxiety questionnaire.
It revealed that people who were more connected with nature used their phone significantly less (two hours 15 minutes a day compared to four hours eight minutes), took 87% fewer selfies and took 320% more pictures of nature. It showed that people who used their phones more were 33% more anxious and had a greater relationship with their phones than nature.
An average smartphone user spends 3.6 hours a day on their device
The research follows on from a pioneering study into smartphone addiction in March 2015, co-authored by Dr Zaheer Hussain, Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby, which revealed that 13% of participants in the study were addicted to their phones, with the average user spending 3.6 hours per day on their device.
How 30 Days Wild can help
Adam Cormack, Head of Communications at The Wildlife Trusts, which recently launched this year’s 30 Days Wild – a campaign to get people to do something connected to nature every day in June, added: “Phones can be useful for recording and photographing wildlife and sharing those experiences but time away from screens can help us to immerse ourselves more fully in nature.
“People who took part in The Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild campaign last year felt healthier, happier and more connected to nature. Some people used their phones a lot while others didn’t at all.”
Notes to Editors
For further press information please contact Kelly Tyler, University of Derby PR Officer, on 01332 591891 or email:
· In February 2016, Dr Miles Richardson, alongside a team of psychologists at the University of Derby, carried out research revealing children with a greater connection to nature achieve better test scores in their Year 6 SATs tests, have higher wellbeing and pro-nature behaviours. For more information, visit: www.derby.ac.uk/newsevents/news/archive/news-archive/pioneering-research-shows-children-connected-to-nature-achieve-better-sat-results-.php
· The University of Derby will host its Nature Connections Festival on Friday September 9 and Saturday September 10, 2016. The two day spectacle, aimed at increasing the relevance of nature to a wider audience will be hosted by BBC Springwatch presenter, Chris Packham. For more information and to book your place, visit: http://natureconnections.org.uk/
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