Previous studies have reported a positive association between mobile phone use and psychological stress. However, the reasons why stressed out individuals use their cell phones more are not clear. To gain further insight on this relationship, we performed secondary analyses on a database of 87 healthy young adults aged 18-35 years who self-categorized themselves as being "Very stressed out" (N = 46) or "Zen" (N = 41). All participants were assessed for psychological stress, duration and nature (hedonistic vs. utilitarian) of mobile phone use, involvement with the mobile phone and levels of nomophobia. Results controlled for the exploratory nature of this study showed that although "Very stressed out" and "Zen" individuals used their mobile phone for the same amount of time and were equally involved with it, "Very stressed out" individuals reported a greater use of their mobile phone for hedonistic purposes and were more nomophobic than "Zen" individuals. The results of this exploratory study suggest that highly stressed out individuals might use hedonistic functions of their mobile phone as a tool to deal with stress, thus explaining why they present greater levels of nomophobia. © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.