Childhood trauma, reflective functioning, and problematic mobile phone use among male and female adolescents

Alessandro Musetti, Francesca Brazzi, Maria C. Folli, Giuseppe Plazzi, Christian Franceschini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The association between traumatic experiences, different forms of emotion dysregulation and problematic technology uses is well established. However, little is known about the role of childhood traumatic experiences and reflective functioning in the onset and maintenance of mobile phone addiction symptoms among adolescents. Methods: Self-reported measures on childhood traumatic experiences, reflective functioning, and Problematic Mobile Phone Use (PMPU) were administered to 466 high school students (47.1% females) aged 13-19 years old. Participants also reported the number of hours per day spent on using a mobile phone. Results: Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that increased time spent on the mobile phone, low reflective functioning scores and high childhood trauma scores predicted PMPU scores in the sample. Moreover, two gender-specific pathways were found. Among males, PMPU was positively related to time spent on mobile phone and childhood traumatic experiences and negatively related to reflective functioning. Among females, PMPU was negatively associated with time spent on mobile phone for video gaming and with reflective functioning. Conclusion: These results might have relevant clinical implications in highlighting the importance of planning gender-tailored interventions for adolescents who report mobile phone addiction symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-252
Number of pages11
JournalOpen Psychology Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Adolescence
  • Childhood traumatic experiences
  • Gender differences
  • Internet technology
  • Problematic mobile phone use
  • Reflective functioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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