Phubbing behavior in conversations and its relation to perceived conversation intimacy and distraction: An exploratory observation study

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Abstract

This study examines the occurrence, frequency and duration of co-present phone use, also known as ‘phubbing’ behavior, during a dyadic conversation and its association with perceived conversation intimacy and distraction. Phubbing was measured by covertly observing students having a 10-min dyadic conversation (N = 100 dyads). Afterwards, participants were approached and asked to complete measures of how intimate they perceived the last 10 min of their conversation, and how distracted they perceived themselves and their conversation partners. Results reveal that phubbing occurred in 62 of the 100 observed conversations. In 30% of these 62 conversations, the phone screen was shared. When phone use occurred, the average frequency was 3.38 times per dyad (SD = 2.52), for a median duration of 99 seconds (SD = 225.2). Relatively few participants could correctly recall the occurrence of phone use during the past 10 min of their conversation. Inconsistent findings were found for the association between phubbing behavior and perceived distraction. The partner's phone use (but not one's own phone use), however, was associated with lower conversation intimacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Conversation
  • Distraction
  • Interaction
  • Intimacy
  • Mobile phone use
  • Observation
  • Recall
  • phubbing

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