Behavioral experts have found yet another techie term to describe one of the most annoying things a couple could do while having dinner together: snubbing their phone – or “phubbing.” If there is a surefire way to wreak havoc on a relationship, researchers think this one is.
The study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior shows that cellphones in general have a very damaging effect on our relationships, be they romantic or not. But more than anything, researchers from the Hankamer School of Business of Baylor University discovered that phubbing annoys us.
Two separate surveys were conducted on more than 400 American adults living in the United States in order to reveal the effects phubbing on relations and the extent to which people use their mobile phone in the company of partners.
Study author James Roberts, Ph.D, a marketing professor, said that phubbing is a major drive for conflicts and the reported relationship satisfaction levels were a lot lower when partners felt ignored during date night. Roberts explained that low life satisfaction rates caused by relationship dissatisfaction ultimately led to increased levels of depression.
Out of the 46 percent of respondents who reported being regularly phubbed by their partner, 22 percent also said relationship conflict ensued in consequence to the act. A surprisingly high percentage of 36 reported depressive thoughts in relation to phubbing, while a lower 32 percent expressed maximum satisfaction with their relationship.
According to the “Partner Phubbing Scale” that the team developed, phubbing is “conceptually and empirically different” from other issues that might arise from attitudes toward cellphones, such as phone conflict, phone addiction, and partner’s phone use.
The nine-item scale of typical mobile phone behaviors that respondents reported as phubbing indicators were the result of the first survey. Some of the statements included are “My partner glances at his/her cellphone when talking to me” or “My partner places his or her cellphone where they can see it when we are together.” Uhm, rude.
For their second survey, researchers used this very scale to measure the couples’ areas that provide life and relationship satisfaction, as well as negative attitudes, such as depression and insecurity in the relationship caused by anxious attachment.”
According to co-author Meredith David, Ph.D., an assistant marketing professor, it’s no surprise that the more cellphone use gets in the way of couple time, the more chances are that the person being phubbed will be dissatisfied in the relationship. And the road only goes down from there, leading to increased feelings of depression and lower self-esteem of that individual.
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