TIME Love and Relationships

Science Says Your Cell Phone Use Could Be Hurting Your Relationship

"Something as common as cellphone use can undermine the bedrock of our happiness"

You probably Pphubb all the time, even if you don’t know what that means. And a new study says it could be damaging your relationship.

Pphubbing refers to “partner phone snubbing,” or when you get distracted by your cell phone when you’re with your significant other. A new study from Baylor University found that Pphubbing hurts relationship satisfaction, thus also negatively impacting overall happiness.

“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 Roberts, a professor of marketing and co-author of the paper, said in a statement. “These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression.”

To find results, the researchers developed a Pphubbing scale, that included statements such as “my partner places his or her cellphone where they can see it when we are together” and “my partner glances at his/her cellphone when talking to me.” Overall, 46.3 percent of the respondents reported being Pphubbed by their partner.

“When you think about the results, they are astounding,” Roberts said. “Something as common as cellphone use can undermine the bedrock of our happiness – our relationships with our romantic partners.”

The study was based on two separate surveys, which in total represented 453 adults in the U.S.

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