The Effects of Smartphone Screen Time on Behavioral Variability

No Thumbnail Available
Rust, Mark Dieter
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Middle Tennessee State University
Individuals diagnosed with conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and depressive disorders tend to display levels of variable behavior disparate from their peers. Previous research has shown that variable behavior can be enhanced or reduced through reinforcement; however, the factors contributing to behavioral variability are poorly understood. Screen time has been hypothesized as a factor that may influence behavioral variability. The present study aimed to explore the possible relationship between smartphone screen time, behavioral variability, and self-reported ADHD, ASD, and depressive symptoms. To explore this relationship, participants attended a session where they reported their screen time use through a smartphone app. Next, participants completed a computer-based behavioral variability task, during which they drew rectangles on the screen. Points were given only for rectangles that were sufficiently different from those previously made (i.e., variable responding). Finally, participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), Autism Spectrum Quotient-10 (AQ-10), and Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS-v1.1). We found weak correlations between scores on the AQ-10 and ASRS-v1.1 and between the ASRS-v1.1 and the BDI-II. There were also moderate correlations between different measures of behavioral variability and between objective and subjective screen time scores, showing consistency in these assessments. However, no systematic relation between screen time and behavioral variability was observed.
ADHD, Autism, Depression, Screen time, Smartphone, Variability, Psychology, Behavioral psychology