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Mood management with the smartphone

Tracking the usage pattern of bored and stressed mobile phone users with a developed experience sampling app

The smartphone provides a wide variety of absorption potential to regulate affective states independent of place and time. In contrast to television consumption, only a few studies have yet analyzed how mobile devices might be used for mood management. To bridge the methodological gap an Android app was developed that combines experience sampling functionalities with smartphone usage pattern tracking. 50 participants were invited to install the app and self-assess their arousal level from boredom to stress for one up two weeks. In total 2448 measurement points were collected. It is shown with a mixed effect model that arousal, differing from the balanced state, significantly influences the smartphone usage time and usage frequency. Especially among persons with high smartphone affection the usage time increases within bored and stressed situations. However, the coherence is strongly varying within and between the subjects and does not follow the predictions of Bryant and Zillmann’s mood management theory.