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Cell Phone Snubbing Damages Relationships

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cell phone snubbing At one point or another, most couples experience problems in their relationship. Some are serious—like money woes or stress from care giving. In other cases, a simple misunderstanding can lead to a full-blown argument.

But what happens when you or your partner becomes obsessed with your smartphone?

In a new study, researchers conducted two separate surveys involving 453 U.S. adults to find out how “partner phone snubbing” —or “Pphubbing”—affects relationships. Pphubbing is the extent to which people use or are distracted by their cellphones while in the company of their partner.

“What we discovered was that when someone perceived that their partner phubbed them, this created conflict and led to lower levels of reported relationship satisfaction,” study co-author James A. Roberts, Ph.D. explained. “These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression.”

The first survey included 308 adults. It helped the researchers develop a “Partner Phubbing Scale.” This is a nine-item scale of common smartphone behaviors that respondents identified as snubbing behaviors.

The resulting scale includes statements such as:

  • My partner places his or her cellphone where they can see it when we are together.
  • My partner keeps his or her cellphone in their hand when he or she is with me.
  • My partner glances at his/her cellphone when talking to me.
  • If there is a lull in our conversation, my partner will check his or her cellphone.

The second survey of 145 adults measured Pphubbing among romantic couples. This was done, in part, by asking those surveyed to respond to the nine-item scale developed in the first survey.

Results of the survey showed that:

  • 46.3 percent of the respondents reported being phubbed by their partner
  • 22.6 percent said this phubbing caused conflict in their relationships
  • 36.6 percent reported feeling depressed at least some of the time

Overall, only 32 percent of respondents stated that they were very satisfied with their relationship.

Given the ever-increasing use of smartphones to communicate between romantic partners, the study helps to understand how the use of smartphones can impact not only satisfaction with romantic relationships, but also personal well-being, notes Roberts.

“When you think about the results, they are astounding,” Roberts said. “Something as common as cellphone use can undermine the bedrock of our happiness—our relationships with our romantic partners.”

SOURCE: Baylor Study: Cellphones Can Damage Romantic Relationships, Lead to Depression. News Release. Baylor University. Sept 2015.

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