Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

December 2016

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Joanna Gonsalves

Second Advisor

Teresa Lyons

Third Advisor

Benjamin Miller

Abstract

The purpose of this experiment was to assess the impact of smartphone usage on social interactions. Previous studies have examined the relationship between smartphone usage and social relationships, but little or none with experimental designs. A particular question was whether smartphone use can detract from the establishment of commitment to a new organization and its members (specifically a university program). It was hypothesized that students who limit their smartphone use would have higher levels of belongingness and commitment to their new program and to their new college and less newcomer anxiety than students in the control group. Twenty incoming freshmen (male = 1, females =19) from a New England university completed pre-tests and post-tests. Participants attending a pre-planned college freshman retreat were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (n = 6) or the control group (n = 6), where the experimental group were asked to limit their smartphone use on the two-day retreat. The between group variable had three levels (experimental retreat group, control retreat group, and a non-retreat comparison group) and the within group variable was time of measurement (pre-retreat test and post-retreat test). Change in six dependent variables from pre-test to post-test was measured, including college anxiety, affective group commitment, and attitudes toward smartphone use along four dimensions (attachment, social connectedness, exclusion, and social assurance). Results only indicated a significant difference between the experimental and control group on the smartphone exclusion variable (U = 3.5, p = .03). This study should be replicated with a stronger manipulation of the independent variable (full limitation of smartphone use vs. regular use) and include a larger sample.

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