Researchers Say "Phubbing" Can Damage Romantic Relationships

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Your cell phone may be what's ruining your romantic relationship with your partner, and there's scientific evidence to prove it.

Research from Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business confirms that cell phones are damaging romantic relationships and leading to higher levels of depression.

For the study, the researchers conducted two separate surveys involving 453 adults in the U.S. to learn the effects of "phubbing" or partner phones snubbing.

"Phubbing" is described in the study as the extent to which people use or are distracted by their cell phones while in the company of their relationship partners.

"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," Doctor James A. Roberts explained.

"These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression."

The scientists surveyed 308 adults and this resulted in a list of common smartphone behaviors people considered to be snubbing behaviors:

• 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 cell phone.

The scientists also surveyed adults involved in romantic relationships. 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, the study shows.

"In everyday interactions with significant others, people often assume that momentary distractions by their cell phones are not a big deal," Meredith David, Ph.D. said. "However, our findings suggest that the more often a couple's time spent together is interrupted by one individual attending to his/her cellphone, the less likely it is that the other individual is satisfied in the overall relationship.

Read the full report here.

The study - "My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone: Partner phubbing and relationship satisfaction among romantic partners" - will be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

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