USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate)

First Advisor

Eric Storch, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Adam Lewin, Ph.D.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Date Available

May 2013

Publication Date


Date Issued

April 2013


The recent surge in the availability of personal electronics is enabling more people to use them in their daily lives. Yet, many people experience some distress associated with using electronics, especially if they are unable to access or use their devices. This distress has not been adequately examined in previous studies and there is no existing research concerning whether distress without electronics (DWE) is related to other mental health issues. The objective of this study was to investigate the phenomenology of DWE within a non-clinical sample, as well as its association with other types of distress. A sample of 236 students completed a survey including the Sheehan Disability Scale modified to address DWE, Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7, Body Sensations Questionnaire, Agoraphobic Cognitions Questionnaire, Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory-Revised, Anxiety Sensitivity Inventory, UCLA Loneliness Scale, and the Distress without Electronics Questionnaire, which was developed for this study. The majority of participants reported experiencing some symptoms of DWE, especially when unable to use phones and computers. DWE was positively correlated with generalized anxiety, agoraphobic, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, anxiety sensitivity, and loneliness. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Honors Program, University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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