In March 2018 researchers from Germany, China and the UK published the results of their study to assess the association between internet and smartphone over-usage with empathy and life satisfaction. A total of 612 individuals (162 females) from China and 304 individuals (207 females) from Germany were included in the study. Information on internet and smartphone use as well as individual levels of empathy and life satisfaction was assessed via questionnaires. Results showed that a higher tendency to internet over-usage was associated with reduced empathy and lower life satisfaction scores. In addition, individuals with a higher tendency to smartphone use disorder were seen to have higher scores on the personal distress scale. Personal distress is known to be strongly related with the personality trait of neuroticism, hence higher stress/negative emotionality in tense social situations can be said to be related to smartphone over-usage.
Lachmann B et al. The Role of Empathy and Life Satisfaction in Internet and Smartphone Use Disorder. Front Psychol. 2018 Mar 27;9:398