How nomophobic are you?



Alex Cory

When walking around campus, you often see the tops of heads more than students’ faces, as everyone has their noses to their cell phones. 

In a digital heavy era, cellphones contain many features that may make life more convenient. But is it too much? To see just how much students adored their cell phones, Iowa State researchers have developed a questionnaire to help people see if they have “nomophobia.”

Nomophobia, which stands for “no mobile phone” phobia, is an affliction that can apply to anyone who experiences anxiety when they lose or can’t use their mobile phone. The questionnaire, developed by Caglar Yildirim, graduate student in psychology, is the first widely-available metric people can use to test how nomophobic they are.

The nomophobia questionnaire asks participants to consider their level of comfort with hypothetical situations involving mobile phones, ranging from how scared they would be if they ran out of battery to how anxious it would make them to be without a way to contact their families and friends.

Participants respond to the questions on a scale from one to seven, with one indicating they strongly disagree and seven indicating they strongly agree with the statement. After all the answers are tallied up, the higher the total score, the stronger the case of nomophobia the participant is likely to have.

“I use it [my cell phone] quite often like most people,” said Jake Asmus, junior in electrical engineering. Asmus said he gets anxious when he doesn’t know where his phone is, or if his battery is going to die and he doesn’t have his charger.

Ana-Paula Correia, associate professor in the School of Education, who helped with the 2014 study that developed the questionnaire, said she was surprised by the results: the majority of students surveyed had the fear.

Correia believes that nomophobia can come from our reliance on the convenience of modern mobile phones. Correia said that while someone from her generation might be more likely to view a mobile phone as just another device like a printer, the younger generation relies on mobile phones to solve daily problems. She explains that a desire to “be present” on social media could also lead to nomophobia.

Correia said nomophobia is a fear, not an addiction to mobile phones.

Take the quiz: 

Score yourself from 1, strongly disagree, to 7, strongly agree. Add up your score to see how nomophobic you are. 

I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.

I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.

Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.

I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so.

Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.

If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.

If I did not have a data signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.

If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.

If I could not check my smartphone for a while, I would feel a desire to check it.

If I did not have my smartphone with me:

I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.

I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.

I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.

I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends.

I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me.

I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken.

I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.

I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks.

I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks.

I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages.

I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.

*Questions word-for-word from quiz provided on the Iowa State News Service.