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Title:“Can you just put your phone away?”: The effects of cell phone use on face-to-face conflict in romantic relationships
Author(s):Roache, David J.
Director of Research:Caughlin, John P.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Caughlin, John P.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Knobloch, Leanne K.; Poole, Marshall S.; Ogolsky, Brian
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
relational conflict
interpersonal communication
Abstract:Effective conflict management is critical for satisfying close relationships, and communication technology is now a fundamental part of conflict management. One way that communication technology may be central to face-to-face (FtF) conflict interactions is by the presence or use of cell phones during conflict interactions. There is empirical evidence for a “mere presence” effect of cell phones on FtF interactions, such that the presence of cell phones is dissatisfying. Existing perspectives also suggest that individuals may be motivated to multitask with communication technology while carrying out a FtF interaction or meeting, but the effects of multitasking in close relationships is less clear. As such, this dissertation investigates the influence of cell phone usage and presence on conflict interactions. Romantic couples in college (n = 64 dyads) had a 10-minute serial argument conversation. Dyads were randomly assigned into a phone absent, phone present, or phone use condition, and one member of the dyad was randomly selected to act as a confederate. Confederates either received messages on their cell phone, were instructed to use their cell phone while trying to resolve the serial argument with their partner, or did not have a cell phone during the interaction. Results provide evidence that cell phone use during a FtF conflict conversation is dissatisfying. In addition, perceptions of technological interference due to confederate cell phone use elicited dissatisfaction, whereas as global ratings of partner interference increased, perceived resolvability decreased for participants in the multicommunication condition. The results offer theoretical and practical implications for effectively managing conflict when cell phones are present or are in use by a romantic partner.
Issue Date:2018-08-07
Rights Information:Copyright 2018, David J. Roaché
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-08
Date Deposited:2018-12

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