Consumer Psychology Wellbeing

Nomophobia (Smartphone Dependency) Diagnostic Test – Marketing Opportunities

Would you feel lost or uncomfortable without your smartphone? Then you may be suffering from nomophobia – fear of being without your mobile phone (no mobile phobia).

You can self-diagnose yourself for the psychological condition of nomohobia using the new NMP-Q nomophobia test below, developed by Caglar Yildirim at Iowa State University that is to be published this year in Computers in Human Behavior (full thesis).

A recent study suggests that nearly 2/3 of us (66%) suffer from nomophobia – dependency on our smartphone for our psychological wellbeing.  Some call it addiction, others call it evolution. Digital marketers call it an opportunity.

For marketers, the NMP-Q scale items reveal an interesting insight – the root psychology of this situational phobia known as nomophobia appears to be FOMOfear of missing out. Without our smartphones, we feel we may miss out on fun, love, life and fulfilment.  The smartphone is not a gadget, it is a digital umbilical chord connecting us to a fulfilled life.

The marketing implication is clear.  In a mobile-first world, mobile marketing will work best when it plays to this nomophopic fear of missing out – by deploying sites, campaigns and strategies built around ensuring people do not miss out on opportunities.

So whilst we’re all busy adapting our digital properties for Google’s new algorithm to be released next month (with its mobile dictate – be mobile-friendly or be invisible) think beyond responsive design.  Marketing success in  a mobile world means marketing to the nomophobic mobile-mindset.

Nomophobia (Smartphone Dependency) Diagnostic Test

Please indicate how much you agree or disagree with each statement in relation to your smartphone use. (1 = Strongly Disagree, 7 = Strongly Agree)

[Score a majority of 5 and above is an indication of nomophobia (smartphone dependency) – see full report for additional weightings/caveats]

  1. I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
  2. I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to do so.
  3. Being unable to get the news (e.g., happenings, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
  4. I would be annoyed if I could not use my smartphone and/or its capabilities when I wanted to do so.
  5. Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
  6. If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
  7. 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.
  8. If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stranded somewhere.
  9. 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,

  1. I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family and/or friends.
  2. I would be worried because my family and/or friends could not reach me.
  3. I would feel nervous because I would not be able to receive text messages and calls.
  4. I would be anxious because I could not keep in touch with my family and/or friends.
  5. I would be nervous because I could not know if someone had tried to get a hold of me.
  6. I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken.
  7. I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
  8. I would be uncomfortable because I could not stay up-to-date with social media and online networks.
  9. I would feel awkward because I could not check my notifications for updates from my connections and online networks.
  10. I would feel anxious because I could not check my email messages.
  11. I would feel weird because I would not know what to do.

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

4 Comments Add New Comment

  1. I believe alot of the younger population has nomophobia! When the holiday’s came around this year. Instead of talking to each other we had alot of family members doing something on their phones. It’s sad to see people more interested in their phones than the people around them.

  2. I don’t own a mobile phone, nor am I supplied one by work, the significant other half. Does not having a mobile phone. Does not having one and no desire to own one mean i have a No Mobile Phone Phobia?.

  3. The only thing that concerns me if I forget my phone is not being contactable if something happens to one of my children. But there are alternative contacts so not a really big deal.

  4. I think I am a nomophobia because I was really getting anxious when my phone ran out of storage. Needless to say I bought more I-Cloud gigabytes which solved the problem. This took in all about two weeks to fix. I was lost without my phone. I had to go to the Apple store to get it fixed because my phone completely shut down. Anyway I learned a few things about storage capabilities on certain I phone. I also learned that you have to download info into the I cloud or your phone will lose it capacity for storage. Great learning lesson for me. Also I bought 200 GB of storage for the I Cloud which I only had 5 GB that’s why my phone was not backing up.

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