Co-present smartphone use, friendship satisfaction, and social isolation: The role of coping strategies

Anja Stevic, Jörg Matthes

Constant reliance on smartphones has resulted in frequent interruptions of face-to-face interactions. In the present study, we focused on three instances of co-present smartphone use: phubbing, i.e., using smartphones during in person social interactions with friends; being phubbed, i.e., being ignored by conversation partners due to smartphone use; and co-use, i.e., sharing and using the smartphone together with friends. Taking into account the moderating role of direct and avoidant coping strategies, we tested associations between co-present smartphone use, friendship satisfaction, and social isolation. We conducted a survey among late adolescents and young adults who are active smartphone users (N = 840). Results revealed no association between phubbing and friendship satisfaction, however, both phubbing and being phubbed were positively associated with social isolation. An avoidant coping strategy further strengthened the association between being phubbed and social isolation. Being phubbed was inversely associated with friendship satisfaction, a relationship which was stronger only for those with lower levels of a direct coping strategy. As expected, co-use positively related to friendship satisfaction and negatively to social isolation. We discuss the findings in the context of negative consequences of phubbing and being phubbed, while emphasizing the importance of co-use in fostering friendship satisfaction and reducing social isolation. Furthermore, the role of coping strategies in moderating these associations underscores the need for targeted interventions to address the smartphone-related challenges in social settings.

Department of Communication
Computers in Human Behavior
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
508007 Communication science
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Psychology(all), Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous), Human-Computer Interaction
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