Among younger users, 9% admitted being addicted to their phones and feeling out of control in how they used them, the poll of 16,500 people found.
The study, commissioned by Carphone Warehouse in association with The London School of Economics and Lord Philip Gould, also found many women relied on their phones as a form of security.
Fifty-four per cent of females under 25 had used a mobile when out alone to put people off approaching them, it found.
The mobile has become a new “barrier” for women to fend off unwanted attention, where a newspaper or magazine would have been used in the past, the study said.
Overall, 21% of the people polled admitted using a mobile as a means to stop people approaching them.
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