Problematic Smartphone Use Versus “Technoference”: Examining Their Unique Predictive Power on Relational and Life Satisfaction

Matthew A. Lapierre, Pengfei Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Several studies have explored the role that technoference/phubbing and problematic smartphone use (PSU) play in potentially influencing relational health and well-being with results showing a negative relationship for both technoference and PSU. However, there are very few studies that have tested these variables simultaneously to determine which has the most explanatory power when looking at such outcomes. Working with a sample of 530 Canadian adults in romantic relationships, the current study addresses this gap in the literature by examining a mediational pathway from PSU to technoference behaviors to relationship satisfaction and, finally, to life satisfaction. Moreover, half of all participants were randomly assigned to answer about their own smartphone use while the other half were tasked with reporting on the smartphone use of their romantic partner. Results showed that neither PSU nor technoference behaviors predicted relationship or life satisfaction among the participants who reported on their own smartphone use. However, for participants who reported on their partner’s smartphone use, PSU was directly associated with reduced relationship satisfaction and indirectly linked with lower life satisfaction while technoference was not a significant predictor. These findings shed light on how problematic types of smartphone use are associated with personal and interpersonal health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Popular Media
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • life satisfaction
  • problematic smartphone use
  • relationship satisfaction
  • smartphone use
  • technoference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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