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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 September 2006, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
Mobile phone users 'stressed out'
Image of a woman speaking on her mobile phone
The UK mobile phone industry is worth 13bn
People are becoming addicted to mobile phones, causing them to become stressed and irritable, work suggests.

Dr David Sheffield, of the University of Staffordshire, found problem behaviour linked to using a mobile in 16% of 106 users who were studied.

In a separate study, to be presented at a conference in Essex later, he found blood pressure was lower in those who had given up using mobile phones.

But operators said mobile phones should be seen as a "liberating" tool.

Researchers quizzed student mobile phone owners about how they used their phone.

They (mobile phones) have given people choice, allowing people to work out of the office, and security
David Pringle
GSM Association

Some 16% were found to have problem behaviour linked to using their phone - either lying about how much they used them, becoming irritable after using them or being overly pre-occupied with them.

The result of this was to cause the user stress, Dr Sheffield will tell the British Psychological Society.

The theory was reinforced by tests carried out on 20 mobile phone users before and while giving up their mobile phones.

The results showed once people had started cutting down their mobile phone use, their blood pressure was lower when talking about them than before.

Dr Sheffield will say the findings reflect the way the mobile phone market has grown.

The industry is now worth 13bn in the UK - up a tenth on last year - and a third of all calls are made on mobiles.

Cancer

"Mobile phones have impacted on every aspect of our social world," Dr Sheffield will say.

"These findings suggest that large numbers use mobile phones heavily and that their use impacts on their lives."

The warnings come after years of debate about whether mobile phones increase the risk of cancer.

There have been mixed results from studies, although the government-commissioned Stewart report concluded mobile phones did not appear to harm health.

However, expert advice is still to limit mobile phone use as a precautionary measure.

David Pringle, of the GSM Association, the trade body for mobile phone operators, said there were two sides to the argument.

"We would say mobile phones are a liberating tool. You can switch them off so you only need be contactable when you want to be.

"They have given people choice, allowing people to work out of the office, and security."


SEE ALSO
Mobile phones 'safe for brains'
11 Apr 05 |  Health
'My mobile reassures me I'm OK'
27 Aug 05 |  Health

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