Prepared by the researcher
- Najwa Ali Bahlool – PhD of Psychological Guidance – Al-Aqsa University/Gaza/ Palestine
- NajahAwad Al-Samiri – Associate Professor of Mental Health – Al-Aqsa University /Gaza /Palestine
Democratic Arab Center
International Journal of Educational and Psychological Studies : Nineteenth Issue – December 2022
A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin.
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The study aimed to identify the relation between nomophobia and psychological alienation, the detection of differences between males and females in research variables, and know the degree of the relative contribution of nomophobia in predicting psychological alienation for Palestinian-teenagers. The researchers used the descriptive method, and a nomophobia scale-(Yildirim Correia, 2015), and psychological alienation-scale was prepared by them, as they were applied to a sample of (600) male and female teenagers in Gaza Governorates, the results concluded that: there is a positive relation between nomophobia and psychological alienation, and there are statistically significant differences in nomophobia and psychological alienation due to gender, in favor of femalesand nomophobia contributed (0.35) to predicting psychological alienation. In light of the research results, the recommendations were proposed, the most important: Conducting guided training programs and courses for teenagers about the dangers of excessive mobile phone use, and its impact on their behavior and mental health.
Adolescence is a pivotal critical, since it is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood. It is an important and dangerous phase in life that a person experiences.Within this stage, individual is exposed to many successive changes, sexual, physical, social and psychological. This stage, whose time period varies from one society to another, is very uneasy and harsh for adolescents.
There are many problems facing teenagers, the most important of which are, the feelings of alienation resulting from the teenager’s inability to create social relations with his/her peers, lack of recreational activities that fit with the society culture, inability to communicate ideas, and poor cultural adaptation.
This leads to confusion, frustration and difficulty of integrating into the social fabric. As a result, the adolescent may resort to social networking sites as an alternative since they are easy to use. Social networking contributes to the formation of new self-contained virtual communities (Abdel Razek, et al., 2021).
The teenager has found himself/herself indulged in the digital world, computers and smart devices, has taken place in every aspect of life including home, work, school, street. The digital world has become one of the most important factors in developing adolescent’s personality. Smartphone is one of the most popular modern technological applications for it helps user accommodate many useful applications including publishing videos and photos, communicating with friends and acquaintances, following the latest news, playing at leisure time, learning and exchanging ideas.
Smart phones have caused a global movement in all societies. User can employ several advanced applications in just one ‘device’, the smartphone has become both an encyclopedia and an open world for people exactly as Aladdin’s Magic Lamp. Smart phone has eased the tasks of life!(Nuri, et al., 2021: 107) define smartphone as “the integration of computer systems with the phone system in order to facilitate the features of social media applications for individuals.”
Mobile phones have become of a great influence in everyone’s life no matter what their age is. A study conducted by Copaja-Corzo, et al. (2022) shows that nearly 50% of the world’s population holds a smart phone since it is of low cost and easy use. Feeling protected, everyone prefers to communicate invisibly behind the scene.
Teenagersspend their time on smartphones to get the world’s recent updates. Such a deleterious widespread use of phones among teenagers has magnified their addiction. This has led to many negative effects in the teens’ lives.Othman (2021) shows that mobile phone has become a pivotal part in teenagers’ lives since it accommodates several applications that they use for various purposes. This results in teenagers’ feeling of anxiety and discomfort when being unattached to their smartphones.
Information and communication technologies have drastically become a people’s way of life. Therefore, various problems and disorders have emerged in the contemporary societies. Nomophobia is one of these fatal issues, fear of losing the phone, abbreviation for “no mobile phobia” (Copaja-Corzo, et al., 2022: 1).Nomophobia causes a range of behavioral manifestations, individuals holding their mobile phones wherever they go even inside the bathroom, they cannot stay or leave home without the phone, they feel anxious and uncomfortable without it (Abdel Razek, et al., 2021).
In their report on psychology and inspired by a case with panic disorder, King, Valenca&Nardi (2010) addressed nomophobia as a term for the first time,they describe ‘nomophobia’ as the 21st century’s disorder. King, et al. (2014) define nomophobia as a state of discomfort, and anxiety that a person experiences when being detached from his/her phone. The term is also defined as “a set of behaviors and symptoms related to excessive mobile phone use” (Abdel Razek, et al., 2021:19).
Nomophobia was first introduced in 2008 by the Postal Service in England where a study found that 53% of participants felt anxious when being outside the network coverage, or being attachedfrom their smartphone, or the phone battery had run out (Nuri, et al., 2021: 107).Yildirim (2014) defines nomophobia as the fear of not being able to use the mobile phone or the services it provides, or the inability to communicate with others, or the inability of accessing desired information.
All the aforementioned definitions about nomophobia agree that nomophobia is an unjustifiable and irrational fear resulting from one’s being detached from mobiles phone. Such a problem mainly results from one’s excessive use of social networking applications. Thus, emerges such as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, unnecessary obsession of checking the received notifications (Abdel Razek, et al., 2021: 20).
There is an overlap between nomophobia and other mental disorders where nomophobia is not perceived as a specific phobia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5, nomophobia has been compared with other psychiatric diseases by looking at the similarities and differences in the diagnostic criteria (Copaja-Corzo, et al., 2022).
Yildirim (2014) indicates four dimensions of nomophobia: the inability to communicate, information inaccessibility, network disconnection, and tiredness, and the difficulty of the teenager’s will of being detached from his phone or from turning it off no matter what the situation is.Teens feel extreme panic in case the phone battery is running out. They thus try their best to connect the phone to the charger immediately, no matter how much effort and money it may cost them, teens feel terrified and anxious when sitting in a place where there are no mobile networks or internet coverage.
There are many theoretical frameworks thatattempt to investigate nomophobia, such as social-cognitive theoretical interpretation nomophobia in line with the processes of self-regulation and feedback. Such attempts help interpret the teens’ misuse of smart phones, and of how this results in anxiety that may lead to phobic behavior due to which an individual cannot effectively be self-disciplined (AbdelRazek, et al., 2021).
The theory of “Optimal Flow” explains one’s use of smartphone as a process that keeps one’s all senses very occupied to the extent that they do not feel the outside world around (Al-Harbi, 2020: 4). “Attachment Theory” proposes that nomophobia results from people’s over-attachment to their mobile phones. This attachment relates to their psychological comfort and sense of safety; therefore, they feel uncomfortable losing or being detached from their phones (Qadduri, 2021: 339).
Due to the deleterious misuse of digital technology, psychological gap, alienation and marginalization have broadened between teenagers and their families.In fact, the use of smartphones has become an obstacle to mental health. This negatively affects one’s feeling of safety, reassurance, psychological instability and loneliness, the misuse of smartphone leads to self-withdrawal or ‘psychological alienation’ as well as loss of self-harmony.
Alienation is a dangerous socio-psychological phenomenon that immensely affects community,it threatens the social fabric between the individuals of one homogeneous society, destroys social norms, distorts and replaces constructively profound values with other values that encourage each individual to do whatever he/she wants without taking into account the customs and traditions of society. This leads to moral disintegration. In this modern time, the alienated person has become of a great danger not only to himself, but to the society,alienation washes away the individual’s sense of belonging and fidelity. This results from the individual’s lack of confidence to achieving their goals, needs and a social position despite their efforts and hard work (Al-Shazli, 2008: 6).
Alienation has become very essential for teenagers because of their critical and rapidly changing lifestyle which distorts their psychological and emotional needs as well as family values,teens prefer being away from their society, and so they feel isolated and bored (Trivedi&Prakasha, 2021: 1150).
Alienation expresses human’s misery and psychological pain,this generates feelings of anxiety, frustration and incompatibility between the individual and his/her environment,this dissociates one of his being human and of happiness, prosperity and tranquility (Nasima, 2019: 9).
Alienation as a term has taken on various meanings including feelings of loneliness, isolation, aimlessness, oddity, and difference from others. According to Oxford dictionary, alienation as a definition refers to the feeling of isolation or lack of involvement in an activity or group of people (Trivedi&Prakasha, 2021: 1150).
The concept of alienation is one of the most problematic concepts for it has not yet been translated into the Arabic language. It istranslated into more than one ‘specific term’ such as ‘isolation’, ‘alienation’, separation’ or ‘withdrawal’.The term has been used in many sciences, sociology, philosophy, psychology, and law. In the present research, both authors have employed the meaning of the term in relation with ‘psychology’ to refer to one’s loss of mental power and senses.
Looking for the linguistic roots of the concept of ‘alienation’, we find that the Arabic word “الأغتراب” is the English equivalent “alienation” derived from the Latin word “alienation” whose origin is the Latin verb “alienare”, which means to transfer the ownership of something to someone else, or to take something away. This verb is derived from another word, Alienus, which means someone or something that belongs to someone, or something being attached to someone. This word is derived from the word Alius, which denotes another utterance, whether as a noun or as an adjective. The meanings of ‘alienation’ dominate the negative meanings, especially in the context of its English uses derived from ‘Alien’(Brishi&Youb, 2015: 198).
Perhaps what makes the concept of alienation more ambiguous is the attempt of social psychologists to measure it. Some argue that alienation is a multidimensional concept, while others argue that it is a one-dimensional concept. Among those who argue that alienation is multidimensional is Melvin Seeman in 1959, who identified five Dimensions of alienation: powerlessness, normlessness, meaninglessness, isolation, and self-estrangement (Brishi&Youb, 2015: 203).
The researchers find that the theoretical models having attempted to explain the concept of alienation are summarized in the following: behavioral theory whose interpretation of ‘alienation’ depends on the fact that reward and punishment are the basis for an individual’s alienation in respect with behavior and action, Psychoanalytic theory proposes that there are psychological forces within individual that drive their behavior,the theory of meaning, Frankl believes that human existence is an existence that is marred by anxiety and alienation. As for the humanist theory, Maslow views alienation as the falsification of consciousness as a result of man’s detachment from himself, and his core. This falsification causes the individual to lose his sense of identity (Nasima, 2019).
There are many types of alienation such as social, economic, cultural, religious, and psychological (Nasima, 2019). Similarly, there are many causes of alienation: external including global currents, colonialism and its impact on world conditions politically, economically, socially, culturally and religiously, and internal causes associated with a specific society influenced by specific political, economic and social conditions. Psychological alienation could also be due to psychological causes that pertain to a person such as conflict, frustration, deprivation and horrific experiences. Some other reasons are related to ‘socialization’ (Al-Anzi, 2020).
Psychological alienation affects an individual’s personality in different ways such as one’s feelings of loneliness, helplessness, and aimlessness. This hinders his social harmony and adaptation, leading him to ignore the values and norms of society, and to live indifferently with no interest (Aliwa, et al., 2021: 147).
Studying nomophobia and alienation is pivotal for teenagers in particular since they are the cornerstone of the family, and the real contributor to society.This is undoubtedly a psychological, human and social problem that the civilized man faces in all societies, regardless of their financial and educational level.
The present study argues that a large percentage of teenagers suffers from nomophobia and psychological alienation. This thus necessitates a new study to investigate the prevalence of nomophobia amongteenagers.The present study attempts to come up with new findings that may benefit specialists and counselors to develop counseling programs to mitigate the negative effects of nomophobia and psychological alienation amongteenagers. As a response to the contemporary social changes and developments, this study attempts to find ways to help individuals accomplish sustainable development in the society.
There are many of previous studies having handled the nomophobia and psychological alienation variables and their relationship with other variables, although each variable is independent of the other.
Okur, et al. (2022) examined the mediating role of social media usage habits in the relationship between FoMo, phobia of missing things and nomophobia. The sample consisted of (177) men and (280) women whose ages ranged between (18-70). The results indicated that there was a positive relationship between the variables, and that social media usage habits played a partial mediating role in the relationship between Fomo and Nomophobia.
Othman’s (2021) study aimed to identify a sample of teenagers’ nomophobia and its relationship to lifestyle and mental health, and to identify nomophobia as a predictor of lifestyle and mental health in the sample. The study revealed some results related to the differences in teenagers’ nomophobia due to sex, specialization, and duration of use the phone.The sample included (276) high school students. The researcher used the nomophobia scale (Yildirim & Correia, 2015), the lifestyle scale, and the mental health scale prepared by the researchers. The results revealed that there was a significant relationship between nomophobia and lifestyle and mental health of the participants, and that there is a contribution of nomophobia in predicting lifestyle and mental health among the teenagers. The study also revealed that there were no significant differences in the dimensions of the nomophobia scale according to the variable of specialization and gender, while there were differences in respect with the time period used by teenagers in using phone.
Megawer&Agagah (2021) conducted a study to investigate the relationship between nomophobia, depression and alexithymia. Authors used descriptive correlative predictive approach. The sample consisted of (310) high school students. The two researchers employed the Nomophobia Questionnaire (NMP-Q) (Yildirim & Correia,2015), the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) and the Beck Depression Inventory Scale (BDI). The results showed that there were positive correlation coefficients between nomophobia, alexithymia and depression.
On a sample consisting of (307) university students, Nuri, et al. (2021) conducted a study to examine the mediating role of smartphone addiction on the relationship between nomophobia and university students’ degree of aggression. Authors used a short form of the Smartphone Addiction Scale, the Buss Perry Aggression Scale, the Nomophobia Scale, and the Baron and Kenny Mediation Model. The results emphasized that there was a partial influence resulting from the relationship between nomophobia and anger.
AbdelRazek, et al. (2021) identified the nature of the correlation between fear of missing out and nomophobia among expatriate teenagers. They investigated the gender differences in both fear of missing out and nomophobia, and examined the relative contribution of fear of missing out to predicting nomophobia in a sample consisting of (584) expatriate teenagers in Saudi Arabia. Participants’ ages ranged between (15-17) years. The researchers usedthe scale of fear of missing out (Przyylski, et al., 2013), and the scale of nomophobia prepared by them. The results indicated that there was a positive correlation between the fear of missing out and nomophobia among expatriate teenagers, and there were no significant differences between males and females in the fear of missing out. And there were differences in nomophobia scale in favor of females, and the contribution of fear of missing out to the prediction of nomophobia in expatriate teenagers.
AbdelAziz’s (2020) conducted a rational, emotional, behavioral counseling program to reduce the level of nomophobia and develop self-esteem among a sample of 20 university students. He used a counseling program prepared by the researcher. He also used the Nomophobia Scale, (Yildirim and Korea,2015), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (1965). The results of the study found that the program was effective in reducing nomophobia and developing self-esteem among university students.
Al-Harbi’s study (2020) examined the level of nomophobia and the relationship between it and anxiety. He studied how (112) BA and MA students at King Abdelaziz University had different symptoms of nomophobia. The researcher adopted both the Yildirim scale (2014). The results indicated that the level of nomophobia was medium. While there was a significant relationship between nomophobia and anxiety, there were significant differences in nomophobia due to the academic specialization, and there were no differences due to the educational level.
Canli&Demirtas’s (2022) study investigated the relationship between leadership levels in social justice for school principals and in levels of alienation among students in Turkey. They examined students’ perceptions of social justice leadership and alienation in school, and examined whether there were significant differences based on gender, social status and students’ economic levels. Their study sample consisted of (493) male and female students from the secondary school. The social justice leadership scale and the student alienation scale were used. The results indicated that there were significant differences between students’ perceptions about alienation and the leadership of social justice for school principals based on the school’s social and economic status, gender, and grade level. The study found that there was a negative relationship between alienation and social justice leadership.
Deniz & Kazu (2022) studied the relationships between social media attitudes and perceptions of school climate, and the percentage of students’ alienation in secondary schools in the year (2018-2019). The sample consisted of (418) secondary students. The results indicated that alienation was positively affected by students’ sharing of their needs, social alienation and a safe learning environment. The study found that safe learning environment variable was negatively affected by the social competence variable, while it was positively affected by the social alienation variable.
In the same context, Alkhamaiseh’s (2022) study identified the percentage of psychological alienation among teenagers and its relationship to academic achievement in public schools in Amman.The sample consisted of (330) teenagers, the researcher used scales of psychological alienation and academic achievementprepared by him, the study found that psychological alienation and academic achievement among teenagers were moderate. And there was a negative relationship between psychological alienation and academic achievement among teenagers.
Trivedi&Prakasha’s (2021) study examined the relationship between students’ alienation and organizational culture in an educational institution. The study adopted the descriptive research approach. The sample consisted of (600) university students between (18-22) years old. The study found a negative correlation between student alienation and organizational culture.
Abbas &Bouazza’s (2021) study aimed to search for the effect of using social media on the degree of psychological alienation among university students majoring in psychology. The sample included (12) male and female students from Abu BakrBelkaid University in (2020). The results revealed that there were significant differences between females and males in respect with the psychological alienation scale, and in the percentage of social media use.
Aliwa, et al. (2021) conducted a study to identify the extent to which a sample of (100) university students were addicted to the Internet and how this was corelated to ‘psychological alienation’. The sample consisted of (100) university students. Authors employed the psychological alienation scale prepared by Amal Abdel SamieBaza (2004), and the internet addiction scale by Sahar Mokhtar and others (2019). The study found a significant relationship between internet addiction and psychological alienation among university students.
Alanzi’s study (2020) attempted to identify the correlation between addiction to social networking sites and psychological alienation among teenagers. The sample consisted of (406) secondary students from Elham School in Giza for the year (2019). The researcher adopted the descriptive approach. He used young’sinternet addiction scale as well as the psychological alienation scale. The results indicated that there was a positive correlation between internet addiction and psychological alienation among students, and that there were differences between males and females in favor of males.
Mahajan’s (2020) study examined alienation, its causes and the differences between male and female college students. The sample consisted of (100) university students, (50) male and (50) female from Aurangabad in an age group of (17-18) years. Sharma’s (1988) alienation scale was used. The results showed that female students suffered from more alienation than male students did.
Kartal’s (2018) investigated young people’s feelings of being alienated in the virtual society. The sample consisted of (477) students aged between (18-31) years. These users were considered active to use Facebook. The spiral of silence (SoS) was taken as evidence of students’ alienation. The results indicated that young people were in a spiral of silence in participating in political, social, religious and cultural-related matters. The results revealed that there was no relationship between the spiral of silence and skepticism in one’s posts, which led to the possibility that skepticism in the participation of others was effective in solving the problem of alienation in the network community.
Having reviewed the extant literature, the authors have found that the vast majority of the reviewed studies have shared similar goals and that most of these studies have employed the NMP-Q nomophobia scale by (Yildirim & Correia, 2015). Besides, most of these studies were applied to university students, and so neglected teenagers. The present study argues that there is a research gap in both Arabic and foreign literature in addressing the issue of adolescents’ ‘nomophobia’.
The significance of this study lies in the fact that nomophobia plays an essential role in predicting psychological alienation. Such a research gap is what distinguishes the present study from others. The present study has benefited from the previous studies in determining the geographical location of the study sample and preparing the study instruments. Furthermore, previous studies have helped the authors of the present study to formulate the research problem of the study under investigation.
In fact, the problem of the study lies in the researchers’ observation of their children during adolescence. They observed that their children never stayed away from their mobile phones. Other colleagues of the researchers had the same observation to that of the researchers. It became very clear that nomophobia is a serious issue that all children in general and teenagers in particular suffer from.
After teens were asked why they were connected to their mobile phones, they reported that it was where they feel secured and comfortable to be with friends, acquaintances, and society. As a result, they remained constantly connected to the virtual world of such applications. Such a phenomenon has gone uncontrolled due to Israel’s wars and siege on Gaza, national division between Palestinian political factions, teens’ alienation, loneliness, and disagreement with the social environment. E-learning due to COVID-19 pandemic has played a crucial role in increasing students’ addiction to mobile phones.
Such a misuse of teens for mobile phone has resulted in various unreasonable behaviors such as irrational continuous checking of the smartphone, holding a charger or a power bank all the time, checking apps’ new notifications frequently before and after bed, spending endless hours on phone, avoiding places where there is no Internet, having more than one phone, and keeping devices close even at sleep time.
This phenomenon has gone beyond the individual level to become the young generation’s distinctive habit. This in fact tremendously affects spiritual and moral values of humans since teenagers represent one of the most pivotal social categories able to contribute to the development and prosperity of the society.
The researchers’ main aim of conducting the present study is to:
a- investigate nomophobia and its relationship with alienation.
b- identify the nature of the relationship between the two variables of the study.
c- examine the extent of hownomophobia helps predict psychological alienation among teenagers. The study tries to answer these questions:
1- What is the nature of the relationship between nomophobia and psychological alienation among Palestinian teenagers?
2- Are there statistically significant differences in the degree of nomophobia among Palestinian teenagers due to the gender variable?
3- Are there significant differences in the degree of psychological alienation among Palestinian teenagers due to the gender variable?
4- What is the contribution of nomophobia to predicting psychological alienation among Palestinian teenagers?
The present study aims to highlights nomophobia and psychological alienation, and to propose some theoretical perceptions and intellectual frameworks to identify the psychological problems resulting from teenagers’ suffering of nomophobia. Furthermore, it attempts to investigate the relationship between nomophobia and psychological alienation, and to examine whether there are statistical differences related to the gender variable in the degree of nomophobia and psychological alienation.
The present study attempts to explain the predictive ability of nomophobia in teenagers and its relationship with psychological alienation. Besides it attempts to propose some recommendations that may assist psychologists in developing counseling, developmental, preventive and treatment programs that develop effective skills in teenagers in order to optimally use mobile phones. This may significantly help teenagers to positively face nomophobia and psychological alienation.
The researchers define Nomophobia, is a term used to describe one’s tension, anxiety and turmoil resulting from the fear of being detached from mobile phone connectivity. This could be due to battery depletion, network disconnection, Internet inaccessibility, or poor data signals, which causes a teen to not be able to be in touch with others.
4.2. Psychological alienation
The researchers of the present study have developed a procedural definition of psychological alienation in line with the current research. They define psychological alienation as an adolescent’s feeling of a number of negative emotions such as loneliness, alienation, loss of self-confidence, loss of sense of belonging, demotivation and psychological barriers with others despite living with them in the same place. This is the highest degree that the adolescent reaches in line with the psychological alienation scale prepared for this purpose.
The United Nations defines young teenagers as individuals whose age ranges between 15-24 years old (Trivedi&Prakasha, 2021: 1153). Some researchers argue that adolescence begins between the years 12-14 for. It continues until the year 18-19. It may take ten years (Al-Fifi, 1438).In this study, the two researchers adopt the Palestinian Statistics Center’s definition of teenagers as a group categorized between the years 14-19 years, who live in Palestine(governorates of Gaza).
The present study narrows its scope to identify the correlation between nomophobia and psychological alienation. The study only focuses on a sample of Palestinian student- teenagers in the governorates of Gaza for the second semester of the academic year 2021/2022. The study uses nomophobia scale by Yildirim and Correia (2015), and uses the psychological alienation scale prepared by the authors of the present study. The instrument of the study was electronically prepared via the Internet (Google Form). Statistical methods are used for data processing, which determines the generalization of the results to different environments.
6.1. Method &Participants
The researchers used the descriptive analytical method to describe, analyze and compare the data. The study population consists of teenagers living in Gaza Strip. The total population number is (59109) of whom (28992) females and (30116) males. Such numbers were taken from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (2021).
The researcher applied the study instrument to an exploratory sample of (60) male and female teenagers out of the study sample. Respondents were selected as available.The study sample consists of (600) male and female student-teenagers,whose ages ranged between(14-19) years in the governorates of Gaza. This is (10%) of the total number. Participants were chosen randomly without prior arrangement. The table below demonstrates the distribution of the sample participants in line with the study variables.
Table (1) Demographic characteristics of Participants
6.2.1. Nomophobia questionnaire (NMP-Q)
The two researchers used the NMP-Q Nomophobia Scale formulated by Yildirim and Correia (2015). Yildirim (2014) activated the theoretical framework in a research tool consisting of a self-report that explains teenagers’ relationship with connected smartphones to the Internet. The questionnaire was developed in (2015), and thus proved to be a valid tool for evaluating teenagers’ level of ‘nomophobia’. The questionnaire was adopted and translated into other languages such as Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Persian, Indonesian etc. The scale consists of (20) items and four domains (inaccessibility of information, abandonment of comfort, inability to communicate, network disconnection). To obtain an equal item scale, items were given estimates (1,2,3) for a triple gradient scale (agree, neutral, disagree). Scores range from (20-60) with higher scores indicating higher levels of nomophobia.
6.2.2. Scale of psychological alienation
Reviewing the psychological scales dealing with the psychological alienation variable, such as: Ibrahim Scale (2019), Abbas Scale (2016), Banat Scale (2005) and others. The researchers presented the scale in its initial form with (32) items to a group of specialists in psychology and mental health in Palestinian universities. Specialists’ opinions and recommendations were seriously taken into consideration, which resulted in modifying the scale items. The scale’s final form consists of (28) items. (4) items were deleted in line with the referees’ consultation. The scale items are categorized according to four paragraphs, namely: self-estrangement which consists of (7) items, social isolation consisting of (7) items, meaninglessness consisting of (8) items, and the loss of the sense of belonging consisting of (8) items. To obtain equal weights for the items, the items are given estimates (1,2,3) for a three-tiered scale (agree, neutral, disagree). The highest score a teenager can get is (84), and the lowest is (28).
Having designed the scale of psychological alienation, both researchers calculated the psychometric characteristics of the two scales as follows:
The consistency of the two scales of nomophobia and psychological alienation is calculated using the “Cronbach’s alpha“. The degree of consistency of the nomophobia scale is between (0.76-0.94), and the total score is (0.85). The coefficient of consistency of psychological alienation is between (0.66-0.92), and the total score is (0.81), which is a high consistency coefficient.
Consistency is also calculated by re-testing. This is done by applying the two scales to an exploratory sample of (60) teenagers from Gaza governorates. After a month, the two scales were applied again to the same sample.
The consistency coefficients of the nomophobia scale ranges between (0.79-0.90), and the total score of the scale is (0.87). The consistency coefficient of the psychological alienation scale ranges between (0.56-0.90), and the total score is (0.71). This indicates that both scales have a high consistency degree, which proves their application to the study sample.
6.2.4. Content Validity
The tools were initially presented to a couple of specialists in psychology, mental health, measurement and evaluation. This was in order to assess the validity of the scale items, their suitability for the study sample, the extent of their ability to measure what they were developed for, and their linguistic accuracy.
According to the referees’ feedback, the nomophobia scale was used without any modifications. four items were deleted from the psychological alienation scale, and some minor modifications were made to some other phrases. Other items with an agreement of 90 % were kept unchanged, which was in line with the referees’ feedback. In its final version, nomophobia has only (20) paragraphs. The total score of the scale ranges between (20-60) degrees. The final version of the psychological alienation consists of (28) items, and thus the total score of the scale ranges between (28-48) degrees. The total score of the scale ranges between (20-60%). The final version of the psychological alienation scale consists of (28) paragraphs, and therefore the total score ranges between (28-48%).
6.2.5. Internal consistency
The validity of the internal consistency of the nomophobia and psychological alienation scales was verified. This was done by the researchers’ application of the scale to a survey sample of (60) Palestinian teenagers from the governorates of Gaza outside the study sample. This was achieved by calculating the correlation coefficients between the degree of each item of each scale, and the total score of the domain that each item belongs to.
The correlation coefficients for the items of the nomophobia domains range as follows: 1- inaccessibility of information ranging between (0.44-0.96), 2- the abandonment of comfort ranging between (0.36-0.78), 3- the inability to communicate ranging between (0.68-0.82), and 4- network disconnection ranging between(0.62-0.79).
The correlation coefficients of the items of the psychological alienation scale are: self-estrangement ranging between (0.21-0.91), social isolation ranging between (0.21-0.88), meaninglessness ranging between (0.71-0.91), and loss of the sense of belonging ranging between (0.52-0.88). This indicates a high correlation coefficient. This reassures that there is a possibility for the researchers to apply the two scales to the study sample.
The correlation coefficients are calculated between the scores of each domain of the nomophobia scale. This is in line with calculating the total score of the scale. The correlation coefficients of the percentage of the inaccessibility of information are (0.76), of the percentage of the abandonment of comfort are (0.82), of the percentage of the inability to communicate are (0.84), and of the percentage for network disconnection are (0.89). The correlation coefficients of the total score of the nomophobia scale are (0.80).
The correlation coefficients between the scores of each domain of the psychological alienation scale and the total score of the scale are calculated. The correlation coefficients of the percentage of the alienation domain are (0.76), of the percentage of the social isolation domain are (0.81), of the percentage of the domain of meaninglessness are (0.90), and of the percentage of the domain of the loss of the sense of belonging are (0.51). The correlation coefficients of the total score of the psychological alienation scale are (0.82), which indicates, according to what is aforementioned, that both the nomophobia and psychological alienation scales have high validity. This proves that both scales could be applied to the study sample.
6.2.6. Statistical Methods
The statistical program for the social sciences (SPSS) is used, and the data is processed by the researchers’ use of these statistical methods: percentages and frequencies, arithmetic averages, standard deviations, Pearson correlation coefficient, and simple regression coefficient t-test (simple linear regression t-test). These methods were chosen in line with the study variables, questions, and objectives. sample size, and the nature of the instruments.
7.1. Descriptive Data and Inter-Correlations
Table (2) demonstrates the correlation coefficients between the total score of all domains of the nomophobia and psychological alienation scales and the total score of the scale of the Palestinian teenagers in Gaza governorates (n = 600).
|Paragraphs||Self-alienation||Social-alienation||Meaningless||Loss of the feeling of belonging||The total percentage of the scale|
|Inaccessibility of information||*0.95||**0.63||**0.52||**0.52||**0.65|
|Abandonment of comfort||**0.75||**0.62||**0.99||**0.55||**0.77|
|Inability to communicate||*0.53||**0.60||**0.93||**0.67||**0.80|
|The scale’s total percentage||**0.66||**0.77||**0.77||**0.78||**0.92|
/// statistically insignificant ** significant (0.01) * significant (0.05)
Table(2) demonstrates a positive relationship between the total score and all the domains of the nomophobia and psychological alienation scales among the Palestinian teenagers in Gaza governorates.
Table (3) demonstrates the arithmetic averages, standard deviations, and t-value of the nomophobia scale according to the gender variable among Palestinian teenagers in Gaza governorates (n = 600).
|Items||Variable||Number||Arithmetic means||Standard deviation||T-value||Degree of statistical significance|
|Inaccessibility of information||Male teenagers||223||2.36||0.52||2.47||**|
|Abandonment of comfort||Male teenagers||223||1.92||0.55||2.05||**|
|Unable to communicate||Male teenagers||223||1.92||0.63||2.37||**|
|Network disconnection||Male teenagers||223||1.80||0.64||2.57||**|
|The total percentage of the scale||Male teenagers||223||2.07||0.47||2.43||**|
percentage of statistical significance 1.64=0.05 percentage of statistical significance 2.33=0.01.
Table )3 (demonstrates the domains of the nomophobia scale and the total score of the scale are all significantly significant at (0.01). This excludes one item “the abandonment of comfort”, which is statistically significant at (0.05). This indicates that there are differences in all the items of the scale in favor of female teenagers.
Table (4) demonstrates the arithmetic averages, standard deviations, and t-value of the nomophobia scale according to the gender variable among Palestinian teenagers in Gaza governorates (n = 600).
|Paragraphs||Variable||Number||Arithmetic means||Standard deviation||T-value||Degree of statistical significance|
|Social isolation||Male teenagers||223||2.09||0.57||2.23||*|
|Loss of the sense of belonging||Male teenagers||223||1.89||0.42||2.26||*|
|The total percentage of the scale||Male teenagers||223||1.96||0.36||2.81||**|
Table (4) shows that the total scale of ‘meaninglessness’ and the total scale of psychological alienation are statistically significant at (0.01). Other domains are statistically significant at (0.05), which indicates that there are differences in all domains of the scale, which shows that the total score is in favor of female teenagers.
Table (5) demonstrates the beta coefficients of the contribution of the independent variable nomophobia to the dependent variable psychological alienation among Palestinianteenagers in Gaza governorates (n = 600).
|Independent variable||Dependent variable||Beta coefficients||Percentage of contribution (2R)||R-squared (R2)||Change in value “F”||Fixed value||Slope of regression line (A linear regression line)||Statistical significance|
Table (5) demonstrates that the independent variable ‘nomophobia’ contributes to the dependent variable ‘psychological alienation’ with a percentage of (0.92) %. The change in the value of “F” for the regression analysis is “3447.99”, which is statistically significant. The prediction equation can be formulated as follows: Y= a + bx
psychological alienation = 0.85 +0.16.
The main purpose of this study was to examine the relative contribution of nomophobia in predicting psychological alienation for Palestinian-teenagers.The results study confirmed a positive relationship between nomophobia andpsychological alienation. No previous research has addressed the relationship between nomophobia andpsychological alienation, this study’s results are important.
The findings of this study were supported by several previous studies (Aliwa, et al., 2021; Abbas &Bouazza, 2021; Al-Anzi, 2020), which indicates thatsuch relationis logical. Considering the theoretical background of the present study, it is clear that Internet addiction leads teenagers to be alienated and lonely. This could result from the teens’ easy use and available access of the Internet. The findings shows that teens are vulnerable to psychological problems and disorders that significantly affect their lives.
This relationship is explained in light of the societal conditions such as wars, national factional divisions and COVID-19 pandemic having affected education system and turned it into digital-based. These conditions took place at the time of applying the study instruments.
This has greatly affected teenagers’ life style. Needless to say, the excessive use of technology in the educational process negatively affects students’ habits of using technology outside the classroom. Such findings can also be interpreted in line with the teenagers’ point of view that social networking sites are the only way to live, which is consistent with the findings by (AbdelRazek, et al., 2021). This can also be attributed to the fact that teenagers’ feeling of psychological alienation is evidenced by the fear of friendship and avoidance of responsibility.
Teenagers usually seek to fulfil their social and psychological needs by creating their own pages on social media sites. This could be due to the fact that teenagers’ use of the Internet is their valuable social asset that leads them to overuse social sites. Such a finding is consistent with many other previous studies.
In terms of differencesin teenagers’ degree of nomophobia and psychological alienation due to the gender variable among Palestinian teenagers,according to (AbdelRazek, et al., 2021; Qadduri, 2021; Abbas&Bouazza, 2021) showed thatthere are differences in nomophobia in favor of female teenagers. Researchers find that there are differences between male and female teenagers. This is attributed to the girls’ longer free time compared to males, and excessive use of mobile phone for long hours at home, and having of the mobile phone as an alternative means since they cannot go out for entertainment at any time.
As a result, female teenagers spend longer times using their phones in order to keep pace with fashion, well-known stars’ news, and fictional romantic movies. Unlike female teenagers, however, both researchers find that male teenagers spend longer times with their friends outside. This could be, according to the researchers’ observation, due to social values and norms as well as socialization that restrict girls’ freedom.
In addition,the present study shows differences between teenagers of both genders in respect with ‘psychological alienation’.The findings of the present study are consistent with the findings by (Mahajan, 2020; Alkhamaiseh, 2022), while they differ from the findings by (Al-Anzi, 2020; Abbas&Bouazza, 2021).
This result is in fact different from the vast majority of previous studies that show no differences between teenagers of both genders in respect with the degree of alienation. Such indifference could be attributed to the concept of ‘quality’ between man and woman.
This result can be explained by how the eastern Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular view the role and duties of males and females. Such a view is in line with Islamic religion and Arab culture that man should take complete care of family and woman. In other words, man is believed to be the guardians of woman. According to such a view, woman should be subordinate and obedient to man, which sometimes shakes her confidence in herself and thus leads her to rebel against man. This may lead her to hide behind the virtual world, which increases her feelings of anxiety, helplessness and loneliness, and which causes her to be more vulnerable to suffer from psychological alienation. Different from woman, man is lesser to be affected by psychological alienation since he is more to accept change.
In addition to the fact that teenager girls are unable to determine their own destiny, as they are completely dependent on their parents. Besides teenager girls are hesitant to make firm sound decisions to develop a plan for their lives, which significantly leads them to psychological alienation.
It can be concluded that, this estimated relationship can be explained by the fact that Internet addiction causes teenagers to suffer from a disorder in the way they socially communicate with others, which leads to psychological alienation. The result is also explained in the light of Attachment Theory.
The study finds that teenagers’ being detached from mobile phone leads them to suffer from anxiety and tension. This thus leads them to suffer from nomophobia. That teenagers overuse social networking sites in order not to feel isolated or alienated leads them to an unhealthy use of their mobile phones. Such an attachment is undoubtedly unsafe.
A teenager’s use of the smartphone for a long period of time causes undesirable consequences such as lesser social interaction, social isolation, alienation, avoiding of confronting others face to face. This all leads to psychological alienation.
This study has contributed to the positive psychology literature and mental health. The relationship between nomophobia and psychological alienation is of considerable novelty. Such a relationship is very essential to help researchers in studying the mechanisms of personality in respect with psychology, emotions, mind and physical health of Palestinian teenagers-the most important social category. Therefore, this study is of great importance because of its role in clearly revealing teenagers’ psychological and social problems. Such an investigation also provides evidence for teenagers’ personality.
The present study may be of great ‘practical implications’ since it provides scientific implications to help teenagers fulfil their counseling needs. The study may assist counselors, psychologists, and experts of psychology, family and education to serve in institutes of psychology and education in order to help design recreational and psychological support programs that assist specialists to alleviate teenagers’ nomophobia and psychological alienation, and to raise parents’ awareness to pay attention to the way their children use mobile phones, especially when their children become considerably unsociable.
Although of that, this study has some limitations. Firstly, the study group was relatively small and did not include samples drawn from all governorates in Gaza Strip. In addition, the sample did not include various age groups and also was limited to student- teenagers.Therefore, it is not clear to what extent this result will generalize across teenagers from various groups. For this reason, the research needs to be repeated with participants from other population. Moreover, in this study, self-reports measuring was used to evaluatenomophobia andpsychological alienation.
Therefore, it’s clear that there is a need for more studies among Palestinian teenagers using different methods for evaluation of these variables, such as reports from families, friends, teachers, neighbors. These reports could decrease the subjectivity limitation of the results.
- Holding seminars, counseling and educational sessions for teenagers to be aware about the negative effects of the excessive use of smartphone, and the impact of this on teenagers’ behavior and mental health.
- Issuing awareness brochures to help teenagers be aware about the negative effects of the excessive use of mobile phone, and about how to use smartphone positively.
- Conducting training and consultation programs to mitigate ateenagers’ psychological alienation.
- 4. Encouraging teens to have close communication relationships between family members and colleagues, which helps them not to be alienated.
- Conducting a similar study on other samples such as husbands and teachers.
- Conducting a study to find out the relationship between nomophobia and other variables such as (personality traits, cognitive biases, self-control).
- Conducting an effective selective counseling program to reducing nomophobia and psychological alienation among teenagers.
- Conducting a study of nomophobia and psychological alienation among expatriate students.
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