Cellphones may offer the ultimate communication convenience, but they could also be sabotaging our romantic relationships—via users who "phub" (phone snub) their partners, a new study finds. The study in the January 2016 issue of Computers in Human Behavior found that 46% of respondents reported feeling phubbed by their mates—meaning that, when together, the mate was distracted by his or her phone. The Chicago Tribune reports 23% said phubbing caused conflict, while 37% reported feeling depressed some of the time. Just 32% of phubbing-prone subjects said they were very satisfied with their relationship. "The results ... are astounding," study co-author James Roberts says in a Baylor University press release.
"Something as common as cellphone use can undermine the bedrock of our happiness—our relationships with our romantic partners," he continues. First, researchers surveyed 308 subjects to create a nine-item Partner Phubbing Scale; 145 adults then had to respond to the nine identified snubbing behaviors, assigning each a number one (never) to five (all the time). Among the statements: "My partner glances at his/her cell phone when talking to me" or "places his or her cell phone where they can see it when we are together." Researchers found that those with "anxious attachment" to their mate (meaning they felt less secure together) were more likely to be bothered by phubbing than those who had more secure attachments, the release notes. (Americans feel quite strongly about cellphone etiquette.)