Original Article

Depression and Smartphone Addiction Among College Students: The Mediating Effect of Emotional Exhaustion


Quzhou University, College of Teacher Education, Zhejiang, China


Quzhou University, College of Foreign Languages and International Education, Zhejiang, China

Alpha Psychiatry 2024; 25: 269-276
DOI: 10.5152/alphapsychiatry.2024.231496
Read: 141 Downloads: 97 Published: 24 April 2024

Objective: Multiple studies claim that depression was a triggering factor for smartphone addiction among college students. But we still know very little about the underlying mechanisms of smartphone addiction. The aim was to shed light on the underlying mechanisms of smartphone addiction from the perspective of depression and emotional exhaustion, to provide alternative paths for university administrators to address smartphone addiction among college students.

Methods: A total of 2764 Chinese college students participated in the survey. They independently filled out self-assessment questionnaires including the Cell Phone Addiction Scale, Beck Depression Inventory II, and Emotional Exhaustion Scale. Subsequently, mediation analysis was conducted using the PROCESS macro developed by Hayes (v 4.0; Model 4).

Results: Statistical analysis showed that depression was positively correlated with emotional exhaustion and smartphone addiction, emotional exhaustion was positively correlated with smartphone addiction, all of which were statistically significant. In addition, the effect of depression on smartphone addiction among college students was partially mediated by emotional exhaustion.

Conclusion: The impact of depression and emotional exhaustion on smartphone addiction had been preliminarily explored, which had certain value for further understanding of smartphone addiction among college students. This study could provide references for universities to develop intervention measures for smartphone addiction.

Cite this article as: Feng B, Dou G. Depression and smartphone addiction among college students: The mediating effect of emotional exhaustion. Alpha Psychiatry. 2024;25(2):269-276.

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