Special Issue "Digital Wellness: Psychosocial and Physical Health in the Digital World"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Digital Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Bridgette Bewick
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9NL, UK
Interests: psychological wellbeing; e-health interventions; digital wellbeing; behavior change
Dr. John McAlaney
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Bournemouth University, UK
Interests: cyberpsychology; social norms; gambling and gambling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health will be devoted to digital wellness. A more nuanced understanding of how the digital world impacts on our physical, psychological and social health is of critical importance if we are to make the most of the opportunities afforded by digital technology while minimizing negative consequences. This Special Issue will add to the knowledge base and advance our international understanding of digital wellness within research and practice across the globe.

A broad range of studies on digital wellness and wellbeing will be considered for inclusion in the Special Issue. We encourage you to submit original, empirical studies as well as systematic reviews or meta-analyses. Short reports and methodological papers will also be considered. Especially, we encourage the submission of interdisciplinary work and multi-country collaborative research.

Dr. Bridgette Bewick
Dr. John McAlaney
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Digital health and wellbeing
  • Digital wellness
  • Persuasive technology
  • Digital addiction
  • Cyberpsychology
  • Social informatics
  • Social media
  • Affective computing
  • Socially adaptive systems

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Developing and Testing a Scale Designed to Measure Perceived Phubbing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218152 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 787
Abstract
Phubbing (phone snubbing) has become a commonplace behavior. The more we are phubbed the more likely we are to phub others. The extraordinary attention-grabbing ability of the smartphone would only be an interesting story if not for its impact on social media use [...] Read more.
Phubbing (phone snubbing) has become a commonplace behavior. The more we are phubbed the more likely we are to phub others. The extraordinary attention-grabbing ability of the smartphone would only be an interesting story if not for its impact on social media use and, ultimately, stress and depression. In Study 1 (n = 258, Mage = 20), we develop a parsimonious and valid measure of phubbing. Extant “phubbing” measures all lack important qualities needed to be able to assess phubbing with a brief and valid scale that can be replicated and used in a variety of research settings. In Study 2 (n = 157, Mage = 39), we test and extend the David and Roberts (2017) phubbing model, while further validating our perceived phubbing measure. We use Social Exchange Theory and Kardefelt-Winther’s (2014) model of compensatory internet use as theoretical support for our expected findings. Results find that phubbed individuals experience a sense of social exclusion that, paradoxically, is associated with an increased use of social media. This increased use of social media is associated with higher reported levels of anxiety and depression. Future research directions and study limitations are discussed. Full article
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Article
Combating Fear of Missing Out (FoMO) on Social Media: The FoMO-R Method
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176128 - 23 Aug 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 5099
Abstract
Background: The fear of missing out (FoMO) on social media refers to the apprehension that online content and interactions from others are unseen and reacted to in a timely fashion. FoMO can become problematic, leading to anxiety, interrupted sleep, lack of concentration and [...] Read more.
Background: The fear of missing out (FoMO) on social media refers to the apprehension that online content and interactions from others are unseen and reacted to in a timely fashion. FoMO can become problematic, leading to anxiety, interrupted sleep, lack of concentration and dependence on social media to generate gratification. The literature has mainly focused on understanding the FoMO experience, factors contributing to it and its consequences. Method: In this paper, we build on previous research and develop a FoMO Reduction (FoMO-R) approach that embraces technical elements such as autoreply, filtering, status, education on how FoMO occurs and skills on how to deal with it; e.g., self-talk and checklists. We evaluate the method through focus groups and a diary study involving 30 participants who self-declared to experience FoMO regularly. Results: The results show that the method was accepted by the participants and helped them to manage their FoMO. They also show that a set of extra functionalities in social media design is needed so that users can manage FoMO more effectively. Conclusion: FoMO can be reduced through socio-technical approaches, joining both social and technical skills, and literacy on how social media are designed and how social interactions should happen on them. Full article
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Article
Selfitis Behavior: Assessing the Italian Version of the Selfitis Behavior Scale and Its Mediating Role in the Relationship of Dark Traits with Social Media Addiction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5738; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165738 - 08 Aug 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1751
Abstract
Research on selfie-related behavior has recently flourished. The present study expands theoretical and empirical work on phenomenon by assessing the psychometric properties of the Selfitis Behavior Scale among an Italian sample and by examining its unexplored mediating role in the relationships between dark [...] Read more.
Research on selfie-related behavior has recently flourished. The present study expands theoretical and empirical work on phenomenon by assessing the psychometric properties of the Selfitis Behavior Scale among an Italian sample and by examining its unexplored mediating role in the relationships between dark triad traits and social media addiction. A total of 490 participants (53.1% females) completed a self-report survey including socio-demographics, the Selfitis Behavior Scale (SBS), the Short Dark Triad Scale (SD3), and the Bergen Social Media Addiction Scale (BSMAS). Results showed the SBS had a five-factor structure with good psychometrics properties in terms of reliability coefficients and measurement invariance across gender. In addition, findings from the path model supported the mediating role of selfitis behavior in the relationships of narcissism and psychopathy with social media addiction. Machiavellianism was found to be unrelated to selfitis behavior and social media addiction. The model shed light into the previous inconsistent findings on the associations between dark triad traits and social media addiction by taking into account the key role of selfitis behavior as an underlying mechanism. The findings may explain individual differences in personality traits associated with co-dependence (i.e., the combination of the dependence on self and others and social media addiction). Full article
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Article
Smartphone Use and Postural Balance in Healthy Young Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3307; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093307 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1221
Abstract
Maintaining an upright posture while talking or texting on the phone is a frequent dual-task demand. Using a within-subjects design, the aim of the present study was to assess the impact of a smartphone conversation or message texting on standing plantar pressure and [...] Read more.
Maintaining an upright posture while talking or texting on the phone is a frequent dual-task demand. Using a within-subjects design, the aim of the present study was to assess the impact of a smartphone conversation or message texting on standing plantar pressure and postural balance performance in healthy young adults. Thirty-five subjects (mean age 21.37 ± 1.11 years) were included in this study. Simultaneous foot plantar pressure and stabilometric analysis were performed using the PoData system, under three conditions: no phone (control), talking on a smartphone (talk) and texting and sending a text message via a smartphone (text). Stabilometric parameters (center of pressure (CoP) path length, 90% confidence area and maximum CoP speed) were significantly affected by the use of different smartphone functions (p < 0.0001). The CoP path length and maximum CoP speed were significantly higher under the talk and text conditions when compared to the control. CoP path length, 90% confidence area and maximum CoP speed were significantly increased in talk compared to text and control. Talking on the phone also influenced the weight distribution on the left foot first metatarsal head and heel as compared with message texting. Postural stability in healthy young adults was significantly affected by talking and texting on a smartphone. Talking on the phone proved to be more challenging. Full article
Article
Demographics and Health Behavior of Video Game and eSports Players in Germany: The eSports Study 2019
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1870; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061870 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 6121
Abstract
The number of video game and eSports players is steadily rising. Since little is known about their health behavior to date, the present study examines the demographics and health behavior of video game and eSports players. In this cross-sectional study, data on demographics, [...] Read more.
The number of video game and eSports players is steadily rising. Since little is known about their health behavior to date, the present study examines the demographics and health behavior of video game and eSports players. In this cross-sectional study, data on demographics, health status, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and video game usage were assessed via a web-based survey of n = 1066 players (91.9% male; 22.9 ± 5.9 years; body mass index (BMI): 24.6 ± 4.8 kg/m²) in Germany in 2018. The majority of respondents (95%) reported a good to excellent health status. Two thirds (66.9%) engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity for more than 2.5 h/week. The average duration of sitting and sleep time was 7.7 ± 3.6 h/day and 7.1 ± 1.3 h/day, respectively. Mean fruit and vegetable consumption was 2.7 ± 1.8 portions/day. Video games were played for 24.4 ± 15.9 h/week on average. Partial Spearman correlations revealed poor positive associations of video game play time to sedentary behavior (rho = 0.15; p < 0.01) and BMI (rho = 0.11; p < 0.01), as well as a poor negative association to self-reported health status (rho = −0.14; p < 0.01). These results indicate the good subjective health of this target group. Nevertheless, the high amount of video game play time and its poor negative association to health status indicate a need for specific health promotion strategies for this target group. Full article
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Brief Report
Profile Pictures in the Digital World: Self-Photographs Predict Better Life Satisfaction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(12), 6667; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18126667 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 645
Abstract
Profiles pictures as online identities represent an extension of the user’s self in the digital world. Changes in self-representation are responsible for reduced well-being in individuals in the offline world. However, whether profile picture selection predicts the well-being of internet users is unknown. [...] Read more.
Profiles pictures as online identities represent an extension of the user’s self in the digital world. Changes in self-representation are responsible for reduced well-being in individuals in the offline world. However, whether profile picture selection predicts the well-being of internet users is unknown. To address this question, we tested the relationship between the type of profile picture (e.g., self-photographs or other pictures) used on social media and the life satisfaction of internet users, accounting for gender and personality traits that have been thought to relate to the selection of profile pictures. The results showed that individuals using self-photographs as profiles reported a higher level of life satisfaction compared to individuals using other pictures as profiles. This effect was influenced by gender, openness, and extraversion. Hierarchical regression and moderation analyses revealed that openness and profile type interacted to predict life satisfaction in women, while openness and profile picture independently predicted life satisfaction in men. Furthermore, extraversion directly predicted life satisfaction in both men and women. These results indicate that the consistency between one’s online and offline self-representation may characterize internet users’ well-being, with potential implications for digital wellness. Full article
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Brief Report
Social and Behavioral Health Factors Associated with Violent and Mature Gaming in Early Adolescence
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(14), 4996; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17144996 - 11 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1565
Abstract
We examined how risk level of video games, measured by maturity and violence level, was associated with behavioral health, social impacts, and online social interactions. School-based surveys in two different cohorts assessed self-reported gaming behaviors, health, and social media use. For Study 1, [...] Read more.
We examined how risk level of video games, measured by maturity and violence level, was associated with behavioral health, social impacts, and online social interactions. School-based surveys in two different cohorts assessed self-reported gaming behaviors, health, and social media use. For Study 1, our 700 participants were 52% female and 48% White (mean age 12.7). Middle school students who played the high-risk games reported higher depressive symptoms and problematic internet behaviors, less sleep, more time spent playing games, and higher frequency of checking social media than non-gaming students. Those who played high-risk games were less likely to play alone and to play with strangers than those who played minimal-risk games. For Study 2, our 772 participants were 50% female and 57% White (mean age 12.6). Similar to Study 1, we found that those who played the high-risk games spent significantly more time playing games, were more interactive with other players, and had poorer sleep outcomes than non-high-risk gamers. Additionally, playing high-risk games had significantly different social impacts of gaming compared to less-risky gaming, including spending more money on games, spending less time on homework and with family or skipping meals due to gaming. Mature and violent content of video games and amount of online social interaction associated with gaming play a strong role in behavioral health and social impacts within families. These results can inform guidelines to intervene when problematic behaviors emerge. Full article
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