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Problematic smartphone use is rising across the world. We tested an intervention with ten strategies that nudge users to reduce their smartphone use, for example by disabling non-essential notifications and changing their display to greyscale. Participants first completed baseline measures of smartphone use, well-being, and cognition before choosing which intervention strategies to follow for 2 to 6 weeks. Study 1 (N = 51) used a pre–post design while study 2 (N = 70) compared the intervention to a control group who monitored their screen time. Study 1 found reductions in problematic smartphone use, screen time, and depressive symptoms after 2 weeks. Study 2 found that the intervention reduced problematic smartphone use, lowered screen time, and improved sleep quality compared to the control group. Our brief intervention returned problematic smartphone use scores to normal levels for at least 6 weeks. These results demonstrate that various strategies can be combined while maintaining feasibility and efficacy.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction in 2022 following peer review. The final publication may differ and is available at Springer via

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