The working theory is that these users don’t spend time on their smartphones communicating, but rather playing with apps, and that the relationship between increased usage and a greater level of depression is that people use these devices as a way of distracting themselves from the emotional pain that they’re in. Cell phone use averaged 68 minutes a day in participants who were diagnosed as depressed, and only 17 minutes a day in those who were not. And it reports that they were able to predict whether an individual was depressed or not with 86 percent accuracy.

Spending most of the time inside your home and in other few locations is also connected to depression. Having a schedule that isn’t so regular, leaving your home and going to your job at various times every day, for instance, is also connected to depression. The professor of behavioral psychology at Northwestern University goes on to say, “It’s an avoidance behavior we see in depression”. If unhappy people are already intimately connected to their phones-and trying to find a solution-then they may be the most likely to be open to using it as a diagnostic tool.

The team analysed the Global Positioning System locations and phone usage for 28 individuals over two weeks.

“For obvious reasons, people do not advertise their negative traits on their social profiles, nor do they [post] unflattering pictures”, a PsychCentral blogger wrote past year.

The results were spotted today in the “Journal of Medical Internet Research”. Saeb confirms the phone data was more reliable in detecting depression than daily questions participants answered about how sad they were feeling on a scale.

The study’s lead author, Northwestern University’s David Mohr, said “the potential value of such research would be to offer a non-intrusive way for people at risk of developing depression to have their mental well-being monitored in a measurable and objective way”. Data were analyzed from only 28 participants, and the study relied on self-reported symptoms as the control against which phone data was measured.

“You could think of it as a therapist in your pocket”, study author Sohrab Saeb told Today.

In addition, he explained that these examinations are quite uniform with extensive research revealing that people who suffer from depression tend to have disturbances in other circadian rhythms. “When people are depressed they tend to lose motivation to engage in life and they tend to withdraw”. Purple Robot is definitely way more sophisticated than a couple of recurring data points, but this research really does display what results the right analysis can reach when it knows where people are and how they are interacting with technology, things your phone has a pretty decent handle on.

The study found a direct correlation between the amount of time spent on smart phones and depression. The standardized questionnaire employed by the researchers to measure depression was the widely used PHQ-9 depression test, Fox News reported.