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Social media can be harder to resist than cigarettes - study

Researchers found that work and media were more difficult to abstain from than tobacco and alcohol.
Feb 1st 2012, 5:36 PM 3,125 18

DO YOU FIND it hard to tear yourself away from your screen at night? You’re not alone – email and social media can be harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, according to a new study.

The study, in which more than 200 adults wore devices that collected reports on their daily desires, found that the urges to work and consume media were the hardest to resist.

Tobacco and alcohol, though addictive, proved much easier to refrain from in the study led by Wilhelm Hofmann of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He said the conflicting demands of modern life often make it hard to choose between different desires.

“Modern life is a welter of assorted desires marked by frequent conflict and resistance, the latter with uneven success,” he said.

Researchers for the study reported by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology also found that desires for sleep and leisure were the most problematic for participants.

This suggests a “pervasive tension between natural inclinations to rest and relax and the multitude of work and other obligations”, Hofmann said.

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