Donna Reid & Fraser Reid, "Insights into the Social and Psychological Effects of SMS Text Messaging," University of Plymouth


Suggested by Kurt Ellenberger



The structural model in Figure 1 shows that the loneliness and social anxiety scores predict whether someone is a Texter or a Talker and whether they locate their real-self in text as opposed to face-to-face or voice call. The more lonely and socially anxious a person is, the more likely they are to be a Texter and to locate their real-self through text. Looking at the paths between the middle ‘mediator’ variables and the outcome variables the model shows that Texters have smaller social networks than Talkers, report Texting to have an impact on their existing relationships, newrelationships and to have had a greater impact on the relationship they have with their closest textmate. Those who indicate their real-self is located in text are more likely to be Texters, have smaller networks, and to find texting has impacted on their existing relationships and new relationships.

Whether someone is a Texter or a Talker seems to be the strongest mediator, indicated by the size of the coefficients between these factor and the outcome factors. There is also a path between Loneliness and Networks and follows that the lonelier someone is the smaller their social network, which is as one may expect.

So, it appears that there is something special about texting that allows some people to translate their loneliness and/or social anxiety into productive relationships whilst for others the mobile does not afford the same effects.