Study: Couples Who Text Together Don’t Stay Together

Work it out, but do it face to face, instead of via SMS.

Study: Couples Who Text Together Don’t Stay Together
[Image: Wikimedia user Ed Yourdon]

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.

About the author

Based in sunny Los Angeles, Neal Ungerleider covers science and technology for Fast Company. He also works as a consultant, writes books, and does other things.



More Stories