In this world, there are researchers who study the societal effects of text messages. Two of these researchers, Lori Schade and Jonathan Sandberg of Brigham Young University, just released a new study claiming that too much texting can disconnect couples. Their research, published behind a paywall in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, links too much texting to the stripping of nuance from a relationship.
“Reaction to disappointment and reality testing occurs more quickly face to face,” Sandberg said in a statement. “There is a narrowness with texting and you don’t get to see the breadth of a person that you need to see.” The pair surveyed 276 young adults around the country; 38% were in a serious relationship, 46% engaged, and 16% were married. One big (and, yes, obvious) takeaway from the study is that text messages are a standard way of communicating for most couples: 82% traded texts multiple times per day.
The researchers also found that, for women, using text messages to apologize, work out differences, or make decisions was associated with a lower-quality rating for their relationship. By contrast, too much texting by men was associated with a lower-quality rating in relationships.
Interestingly, Brigham Young has become a hotbed of sorts for research studies involving technology and personal life: Other recent work from the university includes papers on how texting encourages lying and constant Instagramming of food ruins appetites.