Due to ‘stay-at-home’ measures, individuals increasingly relied on smartphones for social connection and for obtaining information about the COVID-19 pandemic. In a two-wave panel survey (NTime2 = 416), we investigated associations between different types of smartphone use (i.e., communicative and non-communicative), friendship satisfaction, and anxiety during the first lockdown in Austria. Our findings revealed that communicative smartphone use increased friendship satisfaction over time, validating how smartphones can be a positive influence in difficult times. Friendship satisfaction decreased anxiety after one month, signaling the importance of strong friendship networks during the crisis. Contrary to our expectations, non-communicative smartphone use had no effects on friendship satisfaction or anxiety over time. Reciprocal effects showed that anxiety increased both types of smartphone use over time. These findings are discussed in the context of mobile media effects related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stevic, A., Koban, K., Binder, A., & Matthes, J. (2021). You are not alone: Smartphone use, friendship satisfaction, and anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis. Mobile Media and Communication. https://doi.org/10.1177/20501579211051820