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Given technology’s constant advancements, cell phones affect interpersonal relationships with unanticipated consequences. This qualitative analysis investigates the ways smart phones impact conflict in interpersonal relationships. Typically, research has investigated conflict in which mediated communication is a vehicle of conflict. This study looks at smart phones as a reason for conflict. More specifically, we explore how smart phones act as a conflicting third party within interpersonal relationships.

An interview methodology provided data that were analyzed in this study. Eight thematic categories emerged from the data, wherein smart phone participants described how smart phone use generated conflict. The eight categories identified were: barrier to meaningful communication, jealousy of smart phone interactions, technology-induced communication problems, disrespect, face-to-face preferred for conflict, acceptance of smart phone interruptions, accommodation and avoidance, and unmet expectations.

The implications of this study are discussed.

Publication Information

CST 416: Conflict and Negotiation Capstone Project

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

Document Type

Student Project

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Communication Commons