Addiction to cellphones and to text messaging are driven by materialism and impulsiveness and can be compared to other consumption pathologies, the researchers said.
"Cellphones are a part of our consumer culture," Baylor marketing Professor James Roberts said. "They are not just a consumer tool, but are used as a status symbol. They're also eroding our personal relationships."
Cellphones can be part of the conspicuous consumption ritual and also act as a pacifier for the impulsive tendencies of the user, he said. Impulsiveness, Roberts noted, plays an important role in both behavioral and substance addictions.
Previous studies have shown young adults send an average of 109.5 text messages a day or approximately 3,200 texts each month. They receive an additional 113 text messages and check their cells 60 times in a typical day.
"At first glance, one might have the tendency to dismiss such aberrant cellphone use as merely youthful nonsense -- a passing fad. But an emerging body of literature has given increasing credence to cellphone addiction and similar behavioral addictions," Roberts said in a Baylor release Wednesday.