WASHINGTON: Teenage girls who compulsively text are more likely, than their male counterparts, do worse academically, scientists have found.

“It appears it is the compulsive nature of texting, rather than sheer frequency, that is problematic,” said lead researcher Kelly M Lister. “Compulsive texting is more complex than frequency of texting. It involves trying and failing to cut back on texting, becoming defensive when challenged about behaviour, and feeling frustrated when one can’t do it,” she said.

For the study the team surveyed 403 students (211girls, 192 boys) in grades eight and 11. Most came from households with two parents (68%) and were primarily white (83%), representative of demographic characteristics in the school district.

Researchers designed a Compulsive Texting Scale to examine whether texting interfered with the participant’s ability to complete tasks; how preoccupied they were with texting; and whether they tried to hide their texting behaviour.

The students also completed a questionnaire that focused on their academic performance and how well-adjusted they were in school. Only girls showed a negative association between this type of texting and school performance, which included grades, school bonding and feeling academically competent.

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