Session Abstract: The incapacity to tolerate and benefit from solitude in adulthood is rooted in deficits in the early caregiving environment and has been implicated in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and anaclitic depression. Pathological smartphone attitudes (i.e., smartphone dependency and smartphone attachment anxiety) and behaviors (i.e., excessive use of the smartphone) were hypothesized to relate to problems with evocative memory and to incapacities to be alone and to regulate emotion. Participants were 181 racially diverse young adults. Personality variables, smartphone attitudes, and daily subjective experience were assessed via self-report; distraction in the form of smartphone behavior was behaviorally measured through the iPhone application Screen Time. Daily diary methodology enabled both between- and within-subject comparisons (multilevel modeling), providing clarity on individual differences in vulnerability to smartphone misuse as well as the day-to-day conditions under which smartphone use fluctuates. Greater problems with evocative memory were associated with greater smartphone dependency; these relationships were mediated by the capacity to be alone and moderated by difficulties with emotion regulation. The relationship between daily subjective loneliness and daily smartphone use was moderated by problems with evocative memory. These results inform our understanding of smartphone use as an emotion regulation strategy and underscore the importance of the capacity to be alone for psychological wellbeing. Findings also suggest important methodological considerations related to personality assessment, including a) differences in self-reported and behaviorally assessed smartphone use and b) difficulties inherent to assessing implicit constructs (i.e., evocative memory) through explicit measures. Keywords: smartphone, solitude, capacity to be alone, evocative memory

Corresponding Author: Leslie Bermingham, MA | Long Island University - Brooklyn

Presentation 1 Title: Representational Resource, Solitude, and Distraction in the Age of Smartphones


Leslie Bermingham, MA | Long Island University - Brooklyn

Kevin Meehan, PhD | Long Island University- Brooklyn

Philip Wong, PhD | Long Island University - Brooklyn

Leora Trub, PhD | Pace University - New York

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