Smartphones as digital companions: characterizing the relationship between users and their phones

Carolus, A., Binder, J.F., Muench, R., Schneider, F., Schmidt, C. and Buglass, S.L. ORCID: 0000-0002-1079-8461, 2019. Smartphones as digital companions: characterizing the relationship between users and their phones. New Media & Society, 21 (4), pp. 914-938. ISSN 1461-4448

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Abstract

Based on the idea of computers constituting social agents and referring to core characteristics of human-human relationships, this study introduces the concept of a digital companionship between smartphone users and their devices. Constituting characteristics (closeness, trust, preoccupation) and outcomes (stress, coping with stress) of social relationships were adapted to yield a model of human-smartphone relationships for empirical testing. A cross-national sample of participants (n = 1156) completed an online study which included self-report measures as well as a newly developed instrument (Positioning Others and Devices; POD) assessing the closeness to technical devices and social actors. Results showed the smartphone to be the closest device. Further, structural equation modelling lent support for the theoretical model indicating that trust and preoccupation mediate the relationship between closeness to the smartphone and stress and coping. Findings support the concept of companionship as a fruitful approach to explain smartphone-related behaviors.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: New Media & Society
Creators: Carolus, A., Binder, J.F., Muench, R., Schneider, F., Schmidt, C. and Buglass, S.L.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 1 April 2019
Volume: 21
Number: 4
ISSN: 1461-4448
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1177/1461444818817074DOI
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 04 Dec 2018 09:12
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2019 15:15
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/35216

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