A new study suggests that "pphubbing" is becoming so common that it is ruining romantic relationships and causing depression among couples. Pphubbing (partner phone snubbing) happens when somebody pays more attention to his or her cellphone than their partner during a date.
Researchers at Baylor University conducted two separate surveys to determine how pphubbing is affecting romantic relationships by distracting people from their partners.
The first survey was answered by 308 adults who helped develop the study questions, which became the "Partner Phubbing Scale." Then, 145 individuals were asked nine questions about their partner's smartphone behaviors. The participants were asked how often they were pphubbed by their partners, including their partner placing the smartphone in a place that is visible to both of them, holding the smartphone all the time, constantly looking at the smartphone while in a face-to-face conversation, and checking the smartphone during a conversation pause.
The second survey was answered by the partners of those who participated in the first survey. They were asked the number of instances they argued because of pphubbing, whether they are still satisfied with the relationship, and whether they felt depressed or anxious because of their partner's excessive cellphone use.
The analysis showed that 46 percent of the respondents have been phubbed by their partners. Twenty-two percent said that pphubbing had caused relationship conflict and 32 percent felt depressed because of their partner's excessive cellphone use.
Generally, 32 percent said that they are still satisfied with their relationship despite their partner's pphubbing.
"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, study lead author and a professor of marketing from Baylor University, said in a university news release. "These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression."
The findings of the study provide evidence that excessive cellphone use is a big deal for most partners in romantic relationships.
The study will be published in the January 2016 issue of the Computers in Human Behavior.