Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Jessica G. Irons


The purpose of the current study is to investigate the efficacy of implementing a Brief Abstinence Test (BAT) for reducing smartphone and social media (SM) use among college students. A BAT is a temporally condensed version of contingency management (CM), a reinforcement-based behavioral intervention. Participants (N = 32, males = 6) self-reported using an iPhone updated to iOS 12 and using SM on their iPhones for at least two hours per day. Once enrolled, participants completed an online battery of health-related questionnaires and learned how to capture electronically their smartphone-use data. Participants experienced a BAT for one week, during which, researchers asked participants to reduce smartphone use by a percentage (with the majority of the reduction deriving from SM use). If participants met daily BAT contingencies, we provided online vouchers (to be exchanged for payment). Findings revealed that smartphone and SM use decreased throughout the BAT, suggesting that the BAT may be a useful experimental tool for intervening with smartphone and SM use among college students. Further work on acute and long-term clinical implications of reduced smartphone and SM use among college students is warranted.

Available for download on Wednesday, April 20, 2022