A new study published by researchers from Baylor University has revealed that pphubbing, or partner phone snubbing, could be harming and even destroying relationships every day, everywhere. The study analyzes the disconnect and depression that result when partners feel snubbed on account of phone use.
According to the authors of the study, over 46% participants in a study reported they were pphubbed by their partners, and 22.6% said pphubbing created unpleasant difficulties in their relationships and even strained the partners. In fact, 36.6% reported that they experience acute depression after being pphubbed by their partners.
One of the researchers, James A. Roberts noted that: “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. These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression.”
To this end, about 453 adults were recruited into two surveys and questioned on how often their partners used cellphones and how they felt when their partners get fixated on the phones during their time together.
In the first survey, the researchers asked the participants where their partners placed their phones during their time together and how often they checked their phones during intimacy; while the second participants in the second survey were tasked to measure how much pphubbing was done by partners during intimacy.
Ultimately, the researchers observed that interpersonal conflicts arise when one partner spends so much time on the phone and disregards the other partner while doing so.
Researcher Meredith David disclosed that people assume it’s no big deal when they interact so much with their phones when they are in the company of significant others, but the momentary distractions created tend to create tensions in such relationships.
But then, this is not the first time issues about pphubbing would come up in relationships or social studies. An Australian graduate student Alex Haigh in 2013 created a “Stop Phubbing” campaign that was picked up by Time Magazine – it was aimed at encouraging people to look away from their phones and engage in true conversations.
But the problem is still here, and it is everywhere. A study published in 2014 in the International Journal of Neuropsychotherapy examined the effects of addictive smartphone use on partners, and another 2014 study published by the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture revealed that “technoference” created persistent conflicts in relationships and also strained many marriages.
A psychologist at Brigham Young University, Sarah Coyne, advised that it is always better to keep smartphones and all addictive technology far away from easy reach when partners are together, and couples should avoid the temptation of using it for any purpose when intimacy is required.