Study Surprises Absolutely No-One: “Cellphones Can Damage Romantic Relationships”

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes

Who knew, right?

Everyone knew this already. Literally no-one enjoys talking to someone who can’t pull his or her eyes off of his or her smartphone.

I’ll do you one better. Ever been to dinner at a restaurant and there’s a couple on a date and they’re both tapping away at their phones? Yeah.

So anyway…

Two researchers from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business – James A. Roberts, Ph.D., and Meredith David, Ph.D. – conducted two surveys, in which 453 U.S. adults took part. The goal of the study was to analyze how phubbing (yes, that’s a word, and it means being distracted by your phone while in the company of your partner) affects relationships.

“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.”
– James A. Roberts

The first survey of 308 adults was used to help the research team develop the “Partner Phubbing Scale” which is a scale of common behaviors that respondents identified as common phubbing behaviors. These behaviors included statements such as “My partner places his or her cellphone where they can see it when we are together” and “If there is a lull in our conversation, my partner will check his or her cellphone”.

The second survey then took this list of behaviors to 145 other adults who were asked to respond to the scale developed earlier. The final results?

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

“Specifically, momentary distractions by one’s cellphone during time spent with a significant other likely lowers the significant other’s satisfaction with their relationship, and could lead to enhanced feelings of depression and lower well-being of that individual. Thus, when spending time with one’s significant other, we encourage individuals to be cognizant of the interruptions caused by their cellphones, as these may well be harmful to their relationship.”

Basically: stop being a dick and spend more time with present company instead of with your phone. You are the reason we have to invent words like phubbing.

Put your phone away. It will literally make you (and those around you) happier.


Amante Reale

I'm a freelance writer specializing in tech, gadgets, security, cryptography and cryptocurrency. Warning: I am armed with very strong opinions and I'm not afraid to use them. Hire me!