Smartphones and Social Support: Longitudinal Associations Between Smartphone Use and Types of Support

Matthew A. Lapierre, Pengfei Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Smartphones provide users with a vast array of tools to reach out to the world. Smartphones can be used to reach out interpersonally with family, friends, and acquaintances, they can be used to scroll through social networking platforms where one can post comments on a friend’s status update or read about the personal lives of their favorite celebrity, and they can be used to surf the web or read the news. Yet, research has also shown that problematic smartphone use (PSU) can be harmful. Of interest in the current study is whether smartphones can help or harm social bonds longitudinally via social support. Working with a sample of 221 college students who were surveyed twice over a 3-month span, this study explored whether various types of smartphone use (e.g., person-to-person, social networking, and mass-mediated) along with PSU predicted different types of social support over time. The results showed that person-to-person smartphone use was associated with greater belonging support (i.e., feeling accepted by people around you) and tangible support (i.e., feeling that you can find people to help with practical needs) over time. In addition, increased PSU was associated with less tangible support longitudinally. Lastly, there were no effects for social networking or mass-mediated smartphone use on any type of social support. These results offer important insights into how smartphones potentially affect our ability to connect with others along with greater detail about specific kinds of use are implicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • mass-mediated smartphone use
  • person-to-person smartphone use
  • problematic smartphone use
  • social networking
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law


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