Background: Dependence on technology and electronic media devices (EMDs) is a significant phenomenon of modern life with many people experiencing adverse symptoms during abstention. Orthodox Jews abstain from using all forms of EMDs for 25 consecutive hours every week on the Sabbath but do not appear to experience significant adverse reactions during this abstention.
Objectives: To better examine whether Sabbath observant Jews experience fewer and less severe adverse symptoms while abstaining from EMDs on the Sabbath compared to weekdays.
Methods: Ten Sabbath observant Jews abstained from using all forms of EMDs for 25 hours on a Sabbath and again on a weekday. At the end of each 25-hour period participants completed a 12-item Likert-type scale self-assessment of 1–5, once as a report of their condition at 10:00 and again after 25 hours of abstaining. The authors compared the mean results of Sabbath and weekday using Wilcoxon signed ranks test. P ≤ 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Overall, discomfort on Sabbath was less than on weekdays. A statistically significant decrease on the Sabbath was found at both the 10:00 reporting time and after 25 hours in anxiety, restlessness, thoughts and plans of using devices, and overall difficulty to abstain. Significance was found for feelings of not knowing what to do with time (10:00) and moodiness and irritability, being drawn to devices, and cravings achieved significance (after 25 hours).
Conclusions: Sabbath observant Jews reported statistically significant less adverse reactions while abstaining from EMDs on the Sabbath compared to on a weekday.