The Role of Mobile Phones in Romantic Relationships

The Role of Mobile Phones in Romantic Relationships

Robert L. Duran (University of Hartford, USA), Aimee E. Miller-Ott (Illinois State University, USA) and Lynne Kelly (University of Hartford, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch028


Mobile phones have become a ubiquitous presence in romantic relationships. They are playing an increasingly prevalent role in the initiation, maintenance, and dissolution of romantic relationships. They create issues related to autonomy and connection between romantic partners and have changed what it means to give a partner one's full attention. Additionally, scholars have developed several measurement scales to operationalize key concepts with regard to cell phones use in romantic relationships. This chapter presents the intellectual history and current knowledge pertaining to cell phone use in romantic relationships, discusses the various scales, and proposes directions for future research in this area.
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Dr. Licoppe (Liccope, 2004) at Telecom ParisTech, Dr. Haddon (Haddon, 2003) at the London School of Economics & Political Science, and Drs. Katz and Aakhus (Katz & Aakhus, 2002) at Rutgers University are among the earliest scholars examining the role of cell phones in relationships. Dr. Ling (Ling, 2012) at IT University of Copenhagen, Dr. Rettie (Rettie, 2009) at Kingston University London, Dr. Gershon (Gershon, 2010) at Indiana University, and Drs. Robert Duran and Lynne Kelly (Duran, Kelly, & Rotaru, 2011) at the University of Hartford are among the leading experts in the area of the impact that cell phones have on romantic relationships.

Just as cell phones, along with other Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), have become essential to relationship maintenance in friendship and family relationships (Tong & Walther, 2011), so too have they emerged as “key actors in the life of many American couples. . . They negotiate over when to use it and when to abstain” (Lenhart & Duggan, Feb. 11, 2014). Romantic partners often feel closer because of frequent texting throughout the day (Pettigrew, 2009) and they sometimes experience tension or conflict over cell phone-related issues (Duran et al., 2011; Lasén, 2011). Cell phones have taken on importance in the initiation of romance (Byrne & Findlay, 2004; Rettie, 2009) and may play a role in the dissolution of relationships (Gershon, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Romantic Relationships: Being a couple, which includes possibility of marriage and sexual exclusivity.

Relationship Dissolution: The process of ending a relationship.

Autonomy-Connection: The tension between independence and attachment to relational partners.

Mobile Phones: Wireless handheld device that allows users to make calls and send text messages, among other features.

Cell Phone Satisfaction: Positive feelings toward the use of cell phones in relationships.

Cell Phone Rules: Guidelines used to oversee the use of cell phones between relational partners.

Relationship Maintenance: Keeping a relationship in existence.

Relationship Development: The process by which a relationship comes into existence.

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