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Smartphone Anxiety: Why We Panic When We Can't Answer the Phone

Smartphone Anxiety: Why We Panic When We Can't Answer the Phone

If you feel uneasy when your iPhone isn’t an arm’s length away, it’s probably not all in your head. For many of us there are times at work that we just can’t answer a personal call and apparently, it’s enough to drive one bonkers. A new study suggests that we experience real physical symptoms of anxiety when unable to answer a ringing phone, even if we are away from our phones for just a short time.

The Telegraph reports about study results published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Participants involved in the study were given two five minute word search puzzles to complete. For one puzzle participants were able to keep their iPhones next to them and for the other puzzle their phone had to be tucked away out of reach in a cubby.

Researchers called the participants’ phone during the time they were unable to answer it and let it ring for 20 seconds. Upon hearing their ringing phones, those involved in the study suffered an increased heart rate and blood pressure as well as higher levels of anxiety making it more difficult to complete the task at hand.

This new study is not the first one to highlight how dependent we have become on our smartphones. Researchers point out a previous study by James Harkin that suggests our phones have become almost a part of us and they, “function as comfort objects, antidotes to the hostile terrain of wider society,’ and have become entities so intimately a part of us that they are capable of representing ‘an extension of our physical selves – an umbilical cord, anchoring the information society's digital infrastructure to our very bodies.”

What do you think of the recent study that finds we have real physical symptoms of anxiety when we can’t answer a call right away?

How do you feel when you’re away from your phone?
 

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  • ashlilee By ashlilee
    01.17.15  

    That's so crazy! I stress depending on who the caller is. If it's a close family member I stress about not being able to answer it but if it's anyone else I don't care too much.

  • toomuch2handle By toomuch2handle
    01.21.15  

    I wonder who their test subjects were. Teenagers I would understand but adults I think stress more over who is calling or if they were expecting a call and missing that call.

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