People who are “phone snubbed” by others often turn to their own phones, social media for acceptance, Baylor study findsJune 13, 20172 min read
People who are phone snubbed – or “phubbed” – by others are, themselves, often turning to their smartphones and social media to find acceptance, according to new research from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.
Building on their earlier study that phubbing can damage relationships and lead to depression, researchers Meredith David, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, and James A. Roberts, Ph.D., The Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing, have found that the circle nearly completes itself as the offended parties frequently jump online to find affirmation in the likes and shares and positive comments of social media.
Their study, “Phubbed and Alone: Phone Snubbing, Social Exclusion, and Attachment to Social Media,” is published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. The research investigates the relationship between phubbing, social media attachment, depression, anxiety and stress.
“When an individual is phubbed, he/she feels socially excluded, which leads to an increased need for attention. Instead of turning to face-to-face interaction to restore a sense of inclusion, study participants turned to social media to regain a sense of belonging,” said David, lead author of the study. “Being phubbed was also found to undermine an individual’s psychological well-being. Phubbed individuals reported higher levels of stress and depression.”
“We’re looking online for what we’re not getting offline,” Roberts said. “It’s a vicious cycle.”
As part of their research, David and Roberts surveyed more than 330 people across two studies. They found:
* Nearly half of those who were phubbed reported spending more than 1.5 hours on their phone each day. In addition, one-quarter of those phubbed reported spending more than 90 minutes per day on social media sites.
* More than one-third of phubbed individuals indicated that they turn to social media to interact with new people.
* More than half of individuals who said they were phubbed indicated that social media enhances their life and makes their life better. The majority reported that people’s comments on their social media posts makes them feel affirmed and more accepted.
“Although the stated purpose of technology like smartphones is to help us connect with others, in this particular instance, it does not,” David said. “Ironically, the very technology that was designed to bring humans closer together has isolated us from these very same people.”
Meredith David, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Marketing
Dr. David focuses on marketing strategies with an exploration of new technologies.
James Roberts, Ph.D. Director, Centre for Nonprofit Leadership and Service, Professor - Marketing
Expert on consumer behavior, human-computer interaction, compulsive buying, and effects of consumerism & technology on individual happiness.