A recent survey has found a complicated relationship between screen time, addiction and mental health.

Concordia University PERFORM Centre neuroscientist Najmeh Khalili-Mahani was part of the study that found a connection between screen addiction and emotional stress.

"We were interested in understanding how people understand their own relations to screens," said Khalili-Mahani. "The objective of this survey was to have individuals identify themselves as screen-addicted or stressed, and we wanted to understand their relationship between their own subjective understanding of stress and screen addiction in relation to more objective measures in terms of their emotional, their perceptual, their lifestyle and health status, and also the time they were using on the screen."

The team used the same device used to determine internet addiction, and asked questions such as whether screen use distracts from what you have to do on a daily basis, are screens affecting your relationships, do you lose track of time while on screens, do you become defensive when people complain about how long you're in front of a screen and do you hide your screen use?

The study found a correlation between high screen use and higher levels of stress.

"We found that the odds of being screen-addicted are much higher in those who also identify themselves as stressed," said Khalili-Mahani. "Interestingly, those who think that they are screen-addicted had higher levels of emotional and perceptual stress."

She added that those who find themselves screen-addicted are more often relying on the screens for entertainment and social networking.

"There seems to be a link between how they're using these screens to actually cope with some of the stresses that they're dealing with," said Khalili-Mahani.

The survey will help develop e-tools to help those with screen addiction.