Investigation of a Preliminary Mixed Method of Phubbing and Social Connectedness in Adolescents

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychology, School of Psychology, TMC Academy, Singapore

2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts, UCSI University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Background: The exponential growth of smartphones has afforded many users with ubiquitous access to socialization as seen in the various mobile apps used to communicate and connect with others. The present study employed mixed-method approaches to analyse the impact of phubbing on social connectedness among adolescents in Malaysia.
Methods:A total of 568 adolescents were participated in quantitative surveys, and of these participating adolescents, 6 were further invited to join focus group interviews.
Findings: Quantitative findings supported the mediating role of communication disturbance in the relationships between phone obsession and familial connectedness, school connectedness, and self-connectedness, but not for friendship connectedness. Qualitative findings further elucidated the detrimental effect of phone obsession on their sense of belonging from the perspectives of adolescents.
Conclusion: This study reaffirms that phubbing behaviour is predictive of social disconnectedness. Therefore, preventive and treatment interventions should be developed to avoid and control a potential risk of social disconnectedness epidemics attribute to phubbing.


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