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The Cell and the Self: Exploring the Relationship Between Cell Phone Involvement and Differentiation of Self Open Access

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In 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that ninety percent of American adultsowned a cell phone and sixty-four percent owned a smart phone. Any researcher who setouts to examine the nature of relationships in the 21st century must consider how cellphone technology influences communication and connectedness. Current research revealsthat variables such as age, gender, and personality traits influence an individual’s level ofcell phone dependence (Bianchi & Phillips, 2005; Lee, Chang, & Lin, 2014; Takao, 2014;Walsh, White, Cox, & Young, 2011), and that cell phone dependence is linked tosymptoms of anxiety (Billieux, Van der Linden, and Rochat, 2008), depression (Saeb etal., 2015; Thomée, Harenstam, & Hagberg, 2011), sleep disturbances (Jenaro, Flores,Gómez-Vela, González-Gil, & Caballo, 2007; Thomée, Harenstam, & Hagberg, 2011),and low self-esteem (Walsh, White, Cox, & Young, 2011). This study examined the roleof age, gender, and differentiation of self in predicting cell phone dependence and cellphone usage. Research data was collected through an Internet self-report survey from 282adults in the United States and internationally. Hierarchical regression analysis reveal thatdifferentiation of self explained a significant amount of variance in cell phoneinvolvement after controlling for age and gender but did not for cell phone use. Theseresults are discussed as they relate to the potential for addressing cell phone dependencethrough counseling interventions.

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