*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on ScienceDaily.
Smartphones have made multi-tasking easier, more understandable, and at times compulsive. But in social settings, these devices can lead to a form of contemporary rudeness called phone snubbing, or phubbing, the act of ignoring one’s companions to pay attention to a phone.
While it may be commonplace, snubbing one’s friends (Fphubbing) can have serious repercussions on relationships, and there are a variety of factors that may drive individuals to ignore their friends in favor of an electronic screen, according to a new University of Georgia study.
The study reveals positive associations between depression and social anxiety on increasing Fphubbing: depressed people are likely to phub their friends more frequently, and socially anxious people, who might prefer online social interactions to face-to-face communication, might also exhibit more phubbing behavior. Personality traits such as neuroticism also influence phubbing behavior.
“And of course, some people who have high social anxiety or depression are more likely to be addicted to their smartphone,” said Juhyung Sun, lead author on the paper who completed her master’s degree in communication studies at UGA.
The very ordinariness of phubbing suggests some fundamental insights about how technology interrupts social interactions — and how quickly they are accepted, if not embraced.
“I observed that so many people use their phones while they are sitting with their friends at the cafe, any dining time, regardless of the relationship type,” said Sun, currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Oklahoma.
Another significant finding in the study revealed that agreeable individuals have a lower instance of phubbing in the presence of their friends. People who have agreeableness as a personality trait tend to show cooperative, polite, and friendly behaviors in their interpersonal relationships and social settings, Sun said.
“They have a high tendency to maintain social harmony while avoiding arguments that can ruin their relationships.,” she said. “In face-to-face conversations, people with high levels of agreeableness consider phubbing behavior rude and impolite to their conversational partners.”
And though agreeable people may prioritize strong friendships, an exploratory study by the researchers revealed phubbing also to be more likely in the presence of three or more people.