Friend or foe. Are mobile phones helping or hindering romantic relationships?

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Keenan, Sandra
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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Mobile phone usage is, according to Madrid, a compulsive and addictive disorder which looks set to become one of the biggest non-drug addictions of the 21st century (Madrid, 2003). As levels of mobile phone usage are increasing in Ireland every year (, 12/04/2016) it is important to address the effects this increase in usage may be having on our lives and especially the effects it may be having on romantic relationships. The results from previous research undertaken in this area suggest that men suffer higher levels of addictive behaviors than woman (Malviya et al, 2014). Other key findings founded that mobile phones are a representation of a person’s identity (Vincent, 2006) and that mobile phones are the cause for conflict in relationships (Elphinston and Noller, 2011). Other findings were that couple communication and relationship satisfaction were largely correlated (Rehman and Holtzworth- Munroe, 2007), especially for woman. The researcher set out to identify if these findings could be supported in Ireland. The key results of this current study were; overall more women signalled that they could not imagine their lives without a mobile phone, which therefore signals higher levels of addiction towards the mobile phone device in woman in comparison to men. Mobile phones were also reported to be the cause of past arguments for couples as 59.3% of couples agreed that mobile phones had caused an argument between them and their partner in the past. Woman also experienced higher levels of emotional responses when separated from their devices; however men do experience higher feelings of separation than woman. There was also a non-correlation between affection and satisfaction therefore meaning it could not be confirmed 5 that people who are more satisfied in their relationships use their mobile phones to express affection regularly. Author keywords: Addiction, romantic relationships, mobile phone, usage, conflict