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Tecnostros: the new psychopathology of the

Tecnostros: the new psychopathology of the "digital age"

June 23, 2022

The irruption in our lives of technology in the form of computers, internet, smartphones tablets ... has caused social, cultural and economic changes that have affected many individuals. No one can doubt the benefits that technology, and its use can be very useful because it allows us to be constantly in connection with almost every corner of the planet. The new technologies provide us with new channels of relationship and communication and facilitate access to information in record time, as well as providing us with new leisure opportunities.

But not everything is so beautiful: experts have been warning us for decades about the risks of misuse of technology . For two decades, psychologists have named new disorders that have emerged in the "information age" (also called digital age or it was informatics), such as FOMO Syndrome, Nomophobia and Tecnosestress . From the latter we will talk in today's article.

What is techno-stress?

The concept of techno-stress is directly related to the Negative effects of the use of technology .

He was baptized by the North American psychiatrist Craig Brod in 1984 in his book Technostress: The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution, who first defined this phenomenon as "an adaptation disease caused by a lack of ability to deal with new computer technologies in a healthy way".

In 1997 the word techno-stress became popular thanks to a book by Larry Rosen and Michelle Well called Technostress: Coping with Technology @Work @Home @Play. The authors define techno-stress as "Any negative impact (direct and / or indirect) of the technology on the attitudes, thoughts, behaviors or physiology of an individual's body". For them, the most common and documented form of this phenomenon is the excess of information, known as infoxication .

But both definitions were not specific until Marisa Salanova, professor of psychology at the Jaume I University of Castellón, defined the techno-stress as follows: "The techno-stress is a negative psychological state that is related to the use of information and communication technologies or the threat of their use in the future, which is conditioned by the perception of a mismatch between demands and resources related to the use of ICT that causes a high level of psychophysiological activation, discomfort and the development of negative attitudes towards ICT ".

Techno-stress is a problem for companies

Although the techno-stress affects all areas of life, it is in the work environment where most attention has been paid to this phenomenon . Salanova's vision of techno-stress is related to the "demands-resources" paradigm that has dominated the organizational landscape of recent decades. It is in the world of work, and specifically in the occupational risk prevention departments, that this phenomenon begins to be taken seriously.

Be all day connected to the computer at work, look at the mobile phone every 5 minutes, get home and stay connected to the tablet while watching the TV ... Does it sound? If you feel identified, you are not the only one: we spend 24 hours a day engaged in new technologies .

This situation is what causes techno-stress, and according to a recent study of the UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) the techno-stress "It will become a new occupational risk, because new forms of work (such as teleworking) and the omnipresence caused by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can give rise to feelings of disability, lag or addiction in the worker".

Antonio Cano, president of the Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress (SEAS) insists that we must educate individuals, since the misuse of ICT can generate problems such as nervousness and anxiety.

According to the data collected by the National Survey of Working Conditions In 2011, 25% of workers felt overwhelmed by their work. Mainly, This discomfort is caused by a rapid pace of work, with pressure on deadlines and the simultaneous management of tasks, all of them , factors related to new technologies. The workers most exposed to technological change, overload and information speed (workers in sectors such as communication, finance, administration or science and technology) are the most techno-stressed.

Types of technostes

As with stress, techno-stress is a complex phenomenon with different symptoms. According to him National Institute for Safety and Hygiene at Work in Spain There are different types of technostrees. We explain them to you next.


The technoanality It is the most usual type of technostre. The person who suffers it usually experiences high levels of physiological activation that produces discomfort. Tension and unpleasant sensation is a characteristic feature of the present and future use of new technologies.

Some individuals develop an irrational fear of new technologies, which is known as technophobia. The symptoms of technophobia are: avoid technology (even avoid talking about it), anxiety about the presence of technology and hostile and aggressive thoughts towards it.


The tecnofatiga It is similar to the burnout syndrome, because it is characterized by negative feelings such as fatigue, mental fatigue or cognitive exhaustion due to the continued use of new technologies. It can also manifest itself with skeptical attitudes and beliefs of ineffectiveness in the use of ICT.

Some authors talk about a specific type of tecnofatiga: the syndrome of information fatigue. This is the product of exposure, consumption and excessive information management.


The technoadiction is characterized by the uncontrollable desire to be connected to ICT at all times. This behavior causes discomfort and a deterioration in the life of the individual.

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