Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Rich B. Slatcher


Smartphone use during in-person interactions with romantic partners (“technoference”) has become commonplace, and research has begun to investigate the negative effects of technoference on romantic relationships. However, little research has explored the mechanisms by which technoference influences romantic relationships, and the specific interpersonal processes that are disrupted by technoference must be identified and tested. The present dissertation aims to integrate the interpersonal process model (Reis & Shaver, 1988) with Williams’ model of ostracism (Williams, 1997) to provide a theoretical framework for understanding how technoference uniquely influences romantic relationships. Using a combination of correlational, experimental, and daily diary methodology, four studies are proposed to test the idea that technoference uniquely interferes with romantic couples’ in-person interactions by reducing perceived partner responsiveness and inducing feelings of rejection and reduced self-worth, which ultimately lead to undermined relationship functioning (i.e., feelings of closeness).