Mobile Phone Usage during Nights among Male and Female Undergraduate Students and Sleep Disruption in Malaysia

Bachelor Thesis, 2016

56 Pages, Grade: 3.67




1.1 Background of Research
1.2 Research Problem
1.3 Objective
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Conceptual Definition
1.6 Operational Definition
1.7 Theories
1.8 Hypothesis


2.1 Adolescent Sleep Patterns and Night-Time Technology Use: Results of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Big Sleep Survey (Gamble et al., 2014)
2.2 Association between Electronic Media Use and Sleep Habits: An Eight-Day Follow-Up Study (Kubiszewski et al., 2014)
2.3 Evening Use of Light-Emitting eReaders Negatively Affects Sleep, Circadian Timing and Next-Morning Alertness (Czeisler et al., 2014)
2.4 Light Level and Duration of Exposure Determine the Impact of Self-Luminous Tablets on Melatonin Suppression (Wood etal., 2012)
2.5 Television-Viewing Habits and Sleep Disturbance in School Children
2.6 Sleep and Television and Computer Habits of Swedish School-Age Children
2.7 Evening Exposure to a Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)-Backlit Computer Screen Affects Circadian Physiology and Cognitive Performance (Cajochen et al., 2011)
2.8 The Association between Use of Mobile Phones after Lights Out and Sleep
2.9 Adolescent Sleep and Cellular Phone Use: Recent Trends and Implications for Research (Adams, S.K., Daly, J.F & Williford, D.N, 2013)
2.10 Mobile Phone Use and Sleep Quality and Length in College


3. Research Methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Research Subject
3.3 Sampling Procedure
3.4 Instrumentation
3.5 Procedure
3.6 Data Analysis


4.1.1 GENDER
4.2.2 Frequently Used Device Before Sleep









I hereby, would like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere gratitude and appreciation to my supervisor, Miss Elaine Kwong. Throughout the course of this research, she had been a strong source of guidance and support in completion of this research paper.

I would like to thank Miss Elaine as she constantly propelled and motivated me into thriving and to grow in this area while cultivating an interest in this research topic.

Apart from that, I would love to thank the lecturers of the Psychology Major Division of American Degree Program in Segi Kuala Lumpur, for their dedication towards contributing their valuable time, effort and knowledge throughout the course of this program, in which I would not have attain completion without their guidance. My sincere gratitude is also conveyed to my course mates who have assisted me through my doubts and queries in this period of time.

Completion of this research would not have been attained without the support of my family. I would love to thank my family who had been my major pillar of strength throughout my journey of this course and have always ensured succession of my undertakings.

Above all, I would like to thank and convey my profound appreciation to the Almighty God for his constant guidance, blessings and divine mediation which held my strength, hope, faith and courage to thrive through all obstacles and has lead to a path of success.


Darnisha Devi a/p Ragupathi


Mobile Phone Usage during Nights among Male and Female Undergraduate Students and Sleep Disruption in Malaysia

The key purpose of this research is to identify the effects of mobile phone usage during nights and sleep disruption among undergraduate students. In today’s world, technology has taken a huge role and caused a strong impact in every individual’s life and one of the most prominent usages under the world of technology had been the mobile phone. The mobile phone usage is highly significant among the younger generation. This study has been conducted among the undergraduate students of Segi Kuala Lumpur. This research aims to study on the effects of the late night usage of mobile phone among these undergraduate students and their sleep quality. A total of 80 students were drawn in for this research and it was conducted in Segi College Kuala Lumpur. Data were collected in the form of questionnaire, a quantitative approach in which the participants were provided with questionnaire consisting of 27 questions including 2 sub questions. Questions were in the form of dichotomous scale, nominal scale, ordinal scale and a 5 point likert scale. The analysis of data was computed using the statistical software, Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). Results obtained have shown that there is no significant relationship between mobile phone usage during nights and no significant difference between gender and mobile phone usage during nights.



1.1 Background of Research

Speaking of the current era, technology has gone through varying phase of advancement and throughout this phase, it has today, become an item that is quite personal to every individual. Without the presence of technology these days, it is seen that almost half of the population would not be able to proceed with their daily routine which includes completion of personal tasks, professional tasks and general tasks. Technology appears in varying forms and one of the most prominent uses of technology is social media. With technology, the access to any platform under the social media is at the fingertips of every individual. In addition to it, the highest number of usage among all forms of technology has been the mobile phone.

The mobile phone usage has no limit to ages and timing for usage. Almost everyone these days are quite tied up with the use of it throughout the day, along with their routines. Most people are directly under the influence of multi-tasking activity as they are seen engaging with a general activity and be obliged to engage in the usage of mobile phone. It is a new form of addiction that has evolved in the world of technology .

The access to these technologies has been quite effortless and this had lead to the ease possession of at least one form of technology. Speaking of it, the most high end technologies are mobile phones, that comes in varying models and brands, IPods’, laptop, computers, Ipad’s and many more. Mobile phone is one of the most commonly used form of technology and an average individual is seen to be engaging in the use of it in an average of 80% time of their daily routine .

Precisely speaking, the younger generations are the group of population who are quite caught in the use of these high-end technologies especially the mobile phone. Schools, colleges and any form of educational background require the usage of it for attainment of information and knowledge. However, many of them tend to have an overtime usage over the mobile phone especially during the nights .

A typical average person is required to have at least a full cycle of 8 hours sleep after a long day of routine. However, with this new trendsetting use of technology, it had caused and lead to a drastic and new pattern of sleep cycle among the younger generations. Most of them are seen in an increased rate of engagement with this device during the night as compared to other times throughout the day . This has caused a huge number of negative impacts especially in the sleep quality among the younger generation whereby they are directly distressed by sleep disruption caused by the off beam usage of the mobile phone.

This can be explained using the Psychogenic Needs theory which was developed by Henry Murray (1938) whereby he explained about the types of needs that individuals seek for to accomplish. With this, the technology and mobile phone usage is a need that could be categorized as the materialistic need whereby individuals seek to own at least one form of technology, information needs whereby they suggest that only with the owning of this device, any form of information can be attained at any time and also affection needs .

Affection needs is one that could relate closely to the usage of mobile phone as most of them had made it a trendsetting way of using it only during the night and by being active in the use of it during a particular time is where one would be able to communicate with another person and this is usually done to satisfy their affection needs which is the need to belong. With the concerns of this usage of mobile phone and its high engagement during the nights, the most affected area has been an individual’s sleeping pattern.

This condition have shaped a pathway to many other problems such as decreased performance rate, inability to concentre on a certain task, mental health problems as well as biological health problems. With an indirect influence, many people fail to realise that the flawed use of mobile phone have negatively affected and lead to sleep disruption. Besides that, gender differences could play a small role in the usage of mobile phone. This could possibly take place in the purpose of usage, hours of usage and how this could possibly lead to varying sleep quality among the genders.

Quite a number of past research have been conducted on this research topic however, they are quite limited and narrowed among the school aged children’s. With this research, I intend to conduct a study among the undergraduate’s students of the Segi University College Kuala Lumpur which widens the study of this research topic in a college setting among the Malaysian students.

1.2 Research Problem

- To study the relationship between mobile phone usage during nights and sleep disruption
- To study the difference between gender and mobile phone usage during nights

1.3 Objective

- To determine the effect of mobile phone usage during nights and sleep disruption among undergraduate students
- To compare the difference between male and female mobile phone usage during nights among undergraduate students

1.4 Research Questions

- What is the relationship between mobile phone usage during nights and sleep disruption?
- What is the difference between gender and mobile phone usage during nights?

1.5 Conceptual Definition

Conceptual Definition on Mobile Phone

The mobile phone is described as a device or a digital telecommunication that enables one user to communicate with another user. This is done through the transmission of a wireless connection to a particular local cell transmitter allowing them to communicate with ease (Rouse, 2013). With the current advancement in the world of technology, it has brought and carried a path to new terms of defining a mobile phone. It is today commonly known as a “smart phone”.

The smart phone is a device that allows one to communicate with another person while they are in motion as it is a wireless and portable device (Cronje et al., 2012).

Conceptual Definition on Sleep Disruption

Sleep disruption is defined as a disturbed sleep or commonly known as sleep disturbances. It is defined as the troubles an individual has falling asleep, troubles an individual has staying asleep, early awakening from sleep or even sleep that is chronically non-restorative or poor in quality (Berger, 2012).

The prominent form of sleep disruption is known as insomnia. Insomnia is defined by the prevalence of an individual’s account of troubles with sleep (Roth, 2007). The occurrence of insomnia is defined with the prevalence of certain criteria’s based in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM)-IV”. It classifies insomnia into 4 categories which is the primary insomnia disorder, insomnia related to another mental disorder, insomnia due to a general medical condition, and substance-induced insomnia.

The diagnosis of primary insomnia disorder based on the DSM-IV criteria include difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or non-restorative sleep for at least 1 month, and sleep disturbance that leads to distress or impairment in daytime functioning in either social, occupational, or other areas of functioning (Siebern et al., 2012).

1.6 Operational Definition

Questionnaire was built based on the independent variable and dependent variable of the research topic. Mobile Phone Usage (MPU) questionnaire was used to test the significance of its usage during nights and sleep disruption among male and female undergraduate students. The questionnaire consists of 27 item measures that test the mobile phone usages and sleep disruption. Scale - format, 10 items, 5-point Likert scale ranging from SA- strongly agree, A- agree, NA- neither agree or disagree, D- disagree, SD- strongly disagree. Scale – format, 8 items, Dichotomous scale of questions with two categories of gender and opinion based items. Scale – format, 5 items, Nominal scale with order which had categorical grouping of hours of sleep and opinion based items. Scale – format, 4 items, are based on unstructured scale that contains open-ended questions.

1.7 Theories

Social Cognitive Theory by Albert Bandura (1986) explains about a triadic reciprocal of psychosocial functioning. This theory depicts the relationship between the self, society and personal factors through three varying factors. The factors listed are personal factors, environmental and behavioural. These three determinants can be related to the research topic and these factors are interrelated as they’re constantly influencing one another. Firstly, behaviour is adapted through active observational learning as described in Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977). Relating it to the research topic, with the advancement of technology, the environment has been going through an active phase of transformation in accordance to the change.

With this, every individual these days, are almost obliged to own a mobile phone. This is said because in almost every situation and circumstances, a person is indirectly forced into the usage of mobile phone for an example, to communicate in a faster way through instant text messaging, to seek for information instantly through browsers in the phone or even to get instant updates on certain news for an example the cancellation of a class for college students. Moving on, personal factors take place through cognitive, affective and biological events. An individual might feel the urge to own a mobile phone as their beliefs are moulded by the social influences.

These factors can be related to the behavioural stage whereby individual’s behaviour is influenced by their thoughts and actions. For an example, many people engage in a constant usage of mobile phone without a break and half the hours of their day is passed on by the engagement of the usage of it. Besides that, their late night mobile phone usage behaviour can be explained by relating these factors as they might have been in an indirect influence by observing behaviours of others.

Besides that, this can also be explained through the Psychogenic Needs by Henry Murray (1938). He described needs as the “potentiality or readiness to respond in a certain way under certain given circumstances" (Cherry, 2012). There are 24 lists that was acknowledged by Murray and his colleagues and two factors can be used to describe this research topic. Firstly, the materialistic needs which talks about the acquisition, construction, orders and retention of things. For an example, the advancement of technology has pushed individuals to a state whereby they’re almost obliged to own a mobile phone. These days, many individuals tend to seek for the attainment and possession of a mobile phone at a very young age.

Secondly, the affection needs describes about the need for affiliation, nurturance, play, rejection and succorance. Without being actively involved in the usage of mobile phone or without having a phone in hand, many people tend to feel rejected as relationships, closeness and affiliations are formed and strengthened through the active usage of it. This factor clearly describes about how individuals have the needs to feel belonged and accepted and indirectly drives them to the active engagement of this technology.

1.8 Hypothesis

- The relationship between mobile phone usage during nights and sleep disruption is significant
- There is a significant difference between gender and mobile phone usage during nights



2.1 Adolescent Sleep Patterns and Night-Time Technology Use: Results of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Big Sleep Survey (Gamble et al., 2014)

Gamble AL, D’Rozario AL, Bartlett DJ, Williams S and Bin YS have conducted a research that studies the relationship between the usage of electronic devices such as television, mobile phone and computers before sleep and its effects on adolescents sleeping patterns. Their research had a focal point to study problematic sleep which includes the delay of sleep and wake up duration on weekdays and on weekends with a specific time duration provided. Besides that they have also included factor such as the total sleep duration during weekdays and weekends among adolescence.

The target group was adolescence whom age range from eleven to seventeen years old. They have conducted an internet survey online that studies their sleeping patterns, sleepiness, sleep disorders and the presence and use of technology during nights before bedtime. The results obtained have proven that the presence of technology has contributed in several ways to problematic sleep.

Based on the results obtained from their study, over 70% of adolescents have provided information that have proven on the existence or owning of two or more forms of electronic device in their bedroom during night. The highest rating of technology use before bed was mobile phone and then followed by computer with the second highest percentage. In addition, television and radio had followed up with the third and fourth highest use of technology before bedtime. Based on the two highest technology uses before sleep, the results obtained from this study had shown that with a frequent use of mobile phone, it was seen that the adolescence had a later wake up time or lag time before awakening. On the other hand, with a higher rate of computer use before sleep had resulted in a shorter time span of sleep duration among the adolescence.

Based on the results obtained, their hypothesis of technology usage during night has a negative effect on adolescent sleeping pattern is supported. The use of the mentioned gadgets such as computers, mobile phones, television and radio has accounted in a delayed plus disrupted sleep and wake pattern which could possibly cause impairment in their health as well as educational concerns.

2.2 Association between Electronic Media Use and Sleep Habits: An Eight-Day Follow-Up Study (Kubiszewski et al., 2014)

Many past research have been conducted on the usage of single technology and sleep disruption and these had lead Violaine Kubiszewskia, Roger Fontaine, Emmanuel Rusch and Eric Hazouard to carry out a study that examined the relationship between technology use and sleep disruption among middle school children. The study has its focus on the usage of these devises during the day, the concluding activity before bed time and well as the accessibility of electronic media or technology in their bedroom and how these affects or leads to sleeping problems among them.

A sleep diary was used to record their sleep and wake time, Karolinska Sleepiness Scale and an introductory questionnaire was used to aid this study. The availability of devices such as radio and cell phones had increased according to age while the availability of devices such as game console had decreased with age. This had marked to a total of 71 % of school children who had four and more technology device present in their bedroom.

Based on the results obtained, it was seen that the existence of these devices had resulted in sleeping problems. It was proven that with the exposure to a light emitting device for duration of an hour or extra during the night could possibly lead to a higher risk of being exposed to a form of sleeping disturbances. For an example, they are seen engaging in a later schedule of bedtime and a higher rate of troubles awakening in the morning because of the late night activity with the mobile device.

The results of this research had proven and supported their hypothesis of a significant relationship between technology or electronic media use and sleeping habits. This is said as they have concluded their study by adding on that ownership and the pattern of usage in terms of time duration of these technology devices has resulted in sleeping problems and their exposure to it or their night screen time has to be altered to reduce this consequence.

2.3 Evening Use of Light-Emitting eReaders Negatively Affects Sleep, Circadian Timing and Next-Morning Alertness (Czeisler et al., 2014)

With concerns of the declining sleeping pattern in duration as well as quality, Anne-Marie Chang, Daniel Aeschbach, Jeanne F. Duffy, and Charles A. Czeisler have conducted a study on the evening usage of light-emitting media and its negative effects on sleeping pattern. It is said that the usage of these technologies before bedtime had increased tremendously in number over the past years and it has brought to many negative effects especially in areas of sleep. Firstly, the circadian sleep schedule is disturbed as it is delayed, it takes a longer duration for an individual to fall asleep as they engage in the usage of these technologies during nights and reduces the alertness of an individual for the following morning as their REM sleep timing is equally delayed.

It is seen that majority of individuals spends at least an hour before bedtime with the exposure to some sort of light-emitting media and this has lead to sleep disturbances. The circadian timing is affected as it works closely with the physiological and biological processes and hence, this could trigger the body to record the timing to be awakened with the presence of light source as the body has clocked these cues for signs of day time and to be awakened. This gradually affects the timing before sleep as well as it delays the timing for awakening. The exposure to any forms of light before bedtime habitually increases the rate of alertness.

They have conducted two separate experiments to tests the significance of it by exposing a group of participants to light-emitting e-Book and the other group with printed book four hour before sleep for five nights under the exact setting of a dim lighted room. It was seen that the exposure to light-emitting e-Book has a whole lot of different effect in the sleep pattern as compared to the group exposed to printed books. Firstly, with exposure to e-Book, the duration time to fall asleep is lengthened. Besides that, it had also decreased the rate of sleepiness and caused a gradual awakening state due to the presence of the light. It has also caused a continuing effect on their awakening timing. Conversely, the printed book readers had an increased sleepiness rate and they had a shorter time span before falling asleep.

This has supported their hypothesis that light-emitting e-Readers had a negative effect on their sleeping pattern as their circadian timing and next-morning alertness is affected. The results obtained have proven that printed books had a positive inception and termination on the sleeping pattern of an individual.

2.4 Light Level and Duration of Exposure Determine the Impact of Self-Luminous Tablets on Melatonin Suppression (Wood etal., 2012)

Brittany Wood, Mark S. Rea, Barbara Plitnick and Mariana G. Figueiro have carried out a study to test the light levels and the time length of exposure to tablets on the melatonin suppression of an individual. It is said that the exposure to self-luminous display has a negative impairment and it leads to a higher risk of sleep disorder. This is said because with the exposure to it, optical radiations at minimal wavelengths are released, resulting in melatonin suppression. Melatonin is described as a hormonal agent that is produced at the pineal gland of an individual during nights under the presence of darkness.

The participants were tested under three varying conditions whereby they’re exposed to varying light levels exposure to test the melatonin suppression under different states. It states that the human circadian timing is directly affected under these conditions. With a minimal exposure to light, sleeping pattern was yet under control as compared to the gradual increases in the other two conditions. With a higher exposure to self-luminous light, the circadian timing of an individual is disturbed and controlled indirectly by the presence of it. This has resulted in delayed nocturnal melatonin suppression which brought to an end result of disturbed sleep cycle.

Their hypothesis of melatonin suppression is determined and controlled by self-luminous tablets which increased exposure in light and timing was supported by the result as it has proven that an increased timing in the usage of this device before bedtime and increased level of the light brightness reduces the length of the melatonin suppression resulting in a disrupted sleep.


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Mobile Phone Usage during Nights among Male and Female Undergraduate Students and Sleep Disruption in Malaysia
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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Mobile Phone, Nights, Usage, Male, Female, Students, Malaysia, Sleep, Disruption
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Darnisha Ragupathi (Author), 2016, Mobile Phone Usage during Nights among Male and Female Undergraduate Students and Sleep Disruption in Malaysia, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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