“Phubbing” (partner phone snubbing) is greatly detrimental to relationships, according to a recent study analyzing the impact of modern-day technology on our daily lives.
Research was conducted by Baylor University, and the results will be published in the January 2016 issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
In the initial study, which included 308 American adults, the subjects were asked to list instances when they felt snubbed by their partners.
The second trial, which surveyed 148 adults, was meant to measure the extent and impact of “phubbing”. This phenomenon occurs when individuals are ignored or neglected by their significant others, as a result of smartphones acting as a distraction.
There is even a website dedicated to this type of behavior, called StopPhubbing.com, which humorously proclaims that “if phubbing were a plague it would decimate 6 Chinas”.
Due to mobile phone separation anxiety, the devices tend to be kept within eyesight all the time, and sometimes engross their users completely. Findings revealed that participants consider “phubbing” a real problem in their relationships, which leads to arguments and unhappiness.
More than 46% of the respondents in the second study complained that they had been “phubbed” when their partners lost interest in them and preferred to focus on their phones.
In addition, approximately 23% claimed that such incidents had been a source of conflict with their partners. Around 37% of the participants admitted they had felt depressed because of being “phubbed”, and just 32% declared themselves to be very satisfied with their relationship.
According to researchers, the findings may seem surprising to those who believe being temporarily distracted by their handsets is of little consequence to their love life.
In fact, “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”, concluded study author Meredith David, PhD., assistant professor of marketing.
Overall, being absorbed by smartphones seems to be taking its toll on modern-day interactions. When people feel that their importance is smaller than that of a gadget, they experience frustration and anger.
This results in momentary tiffs, but it also lowers the overall levels of relationship satisfaction. The damage can be so severe that it can actually culminate in the dissolution of the couple.
In addition, being unhappy with their loved ones can sometimes lead to generalized disappointment, especially among those who require greater validation and assurance from their partners.
People who have failed in their relationships may feel their whole existence is flawed, and develop anxiety or depression.
Based on these findings, researchers urge people to gain more awareness of the fact that addiction to technology can undermine the foundation of their entire wellbeing.
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