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Mind over Matter: Testing the Efficacy of an Online Randomized Controlled Trial to Reduce Distraction from Smartphone Use.


ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests a growing call for the prevention of excessive smartphone and social media use and the ensuing distraction that arises affecting academic achievement and productivity. A ten-day online randomized controlled trial with the use of smartphone apps, engaging participants in mindfulness exercises, self-monitoring and mood tracking, was implemented amongst UK university students (n = 143). Participants were asked to complete online pre- and post-intervention assessments. Results indicated high effect sizes in reduction of smartphone distraction and improvement scores on a number of self-reported secondary psychological outcomes. The intervention was not effective in reducing habitual behaviours, nomophobia, or time spent on social media. Mediation analyses demonstrated that: (i) emotional self-awareness but not mindful attention mediated the relationship between intervention effects and smartphone distraction, and (ii) online vigilance mediated the relationship between smartphone distraction and problematic social media use. The present study provides preliminary evidence of the efficacy of an intervention for decreased smartphone distraction and highlights psychological processes involved in this emergent phenomenon in the smartphone literature. Online interventions may serve as complementary strategies to reduce distraction levels and promote insight into online engagement. More research is required to elucidate the mechanisms of digital distraction and assess its implications in problematic use.

SUBMITTER: Throuvala MA 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7369880 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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