A UNIVERSITY student has found himself at the centre of a media storm after his research into smartphones caused a stir.

Richard Balding’s study of the link between smartphones and stress featured prominently in several national newspapers after he submitted his paper to the British Psychological Society.

The University of Worcester student found people who checked their smartphones for e-mails or messages felt more stressed as a result.

He also found users who did not receive messages also felt stressed and some felt phantom vibrations – imagining they had texts – because they were so intent on waiting for them.

Mr Balding, who has just completed a masters degree in occupational psychology, said: “I found the more individuals checked their phones, the stress they had increased.

“They felt that the more they checked their phones the more stress they were being put under.

“They even felt phantom vibrations when they think they are getting messages but in fact they are just expecting a message.

”If people are not getting messages it affects their stress levels too.

“It’s just being constantly connected to everything.

“You are just unable to switch off.

“We concluded that people should have a break from their smartphones where possible.

“Organisations should limit e-mails going to their employees out of the workplace and from a personal point of view individuals should try not to look at Facebook and Twitter throughout the day.”

Mr Balding, who spoke about his dissertation at the society’s occupational psychology conference in Chester yesterday, said he was surprised but pleased at how much interest his research had generated.

He said: “I knew it was an interesting area but I didn’t expect what has happened.”

Mr Balding, from Stafford, is now looking for work or research posts within the occupational psychology field.

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