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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – What you may have suspected is now confirmed in a study from Baylor University. You may be a cell phone addict.

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Given that cell phone and instant messaging addiction is driven by materialism and impulsiveness, Baylor University Marketing Professor James Roberts says that’s not a good thing. “So my study kinda looked at cell phone addiction in the same kind of line or vein that I would study compulsive buying and credit card abuse.”

Roberts, who co-authored the study with a researcher at Seton Hall University, found that cell phone addiction grows with increased use. “We’re becoming increasingly dependent upon our cell phones and of course that’s the cornerstone of addiction is dependency,” he said.

The study is also said to be the first to look at how the preoccupation with material objects correlates with cell phone addiction. Roberts said, “Some of the reason why we use cell phones is driven by our materialism. They’re consumed in public, right? Everyone sees us largely when we’re using our cell phones.”

The authors contend that the use and display of the technological gadgets are meant to “signal one’s wealth, status, or resourcefulness.”

The study also shows that ritualistic use of cell phones has become impulsive and used as a pacifier for teens and adults. “Whenever we feel uncomfortable in a social situation what do we do? We pull it [cell phone] out and check our messages,” Roberts suggested. “And what we’re really doing there is we’re trying to reduce the stress and anxiety we feel about standing alone.”

Researchers say the almost involuntary act of picking up and using a cell phone is done with the anticipation of some type of reward or immediate gratification. “So all these increasingly new and creative functions make cell phones so attractive and [they] become part of our life and bring us pleasure. And as they bring us pleasure they also bring use closer to addiction,” Roberts said.

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For some people cell phone ‘attractiveness’ may also be directly correlated to physical attraction. The Baylor and Seton Hall researchers even referenced a study done in the UK that found when the ratio of men to women increased in a bar or club setting men were more likely to display their cell phones, essentially signify their status and power.

Roberts said there are cures for this particular affliction. “We have to institute rules. We have to kind of create an environment that allows us to beat the addiction.” The cures could include imposing time limits on cell phone use.

Data for the study came from nearly 200 business students at two U.S. universities. Choosing that particular group was undoubtedly no accident. According to the study, the average college student spends approximately seven hours a day using some type of information and communication technology.

The study is published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

So, are you addicted? Tell us about it in your comments below.

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