Lin et al proposed criteria for a diagnosis of smartphone addiction. The authors are from National Taiwan University, multiple institutions in Taiwan and Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

The diagnosis involves 3 sets of criteria - A, B and C.


Key criteria (A) - 3 or more of the following:

(1) recurrent failure to resist the impulse to use the smartphone

(2) withdrawal (dsyphoric mood, anxiety, irritability) after a period without smartphone use

(3) use of smartphone for a period longer than intended

(4) persistent desire and/or unsuccessful attempts to reduce smartphone use

(5) excessive smartphone use and/or time spent on quitting use

(6) continued excessive use despite knowing that this is causing persistent or recurrent physical and/or psychological problems


The presence of 3 or more of these criteria had a sensitivity of 78% and specificity of 88%, with the highest diagnostic accuracy (84%).


Functional impairment (B) - 2 or more of the following:

(1) excessive use has resulted in physical and/or psychological problems

(2) smartphone use when it is hazardous or when it is associated with a negative impact on daily life

(3) impairment of social relationships and/or work performance

(4) use causing distress or consuming too much time


Exclusion criteria (C):

(1) The behavior is not better explained by another diagnosis (bipolar I disorder, obsessive-compulsive neurosis, etc).


Other criteria that did not get incorporated into final model but which may be noted:

(1) preoccupation with smartphone use

(2) tolerance with need to increase use to achieve satisfaction

(3) use of smartphone even when it is inappropriate

(4) use of smartphone to relieve dysphoric mood

(5) loss of interest in other interests, hobbies or entertainments

(6) deception to others about the amount of smartphone use

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