top of page

Technology and Well-Being

Welcome to the Transformative Topics Newsletter for May 2024. This month, we're shining a spotlight on the dynamic relationship between "technology and consumer well-being." The first work we cover is from Aida Faber, Colleen Bee, Marina Girju, Naz Onel, Anne Marie Rossi, Marina Cozac, Richard J. Lutz, Gia Nardini, and Camilla Eunyoung Song, who explore how consumers use and experience their smartphones in their article entitled “The paradoxes of smartphone use: Understanding the user experience in today's connected world.”


In the spirit of our transformative topics newsletter and its 'behind the scenes' storytelling, Gia and Aida, on behalf of the TCR authorship team, reflect on what motivated their research on this topic and the impact of their work, and how this impact was achieved:


When we first began our project, we intended to better understand why so many consumers struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with their smartphones. We speculated that consumers had difficulty identifying which smartphone interactions were detrimental to their focus and wellbeing, and which smartphone interactions were beneficial. However, as we began interviewing consumers, we quickly realized that consumers have a deep understanding of their relationships with their smartphones, and that these relationships are incredibly complex bringing together both the good and the bad. For example, smartphones can relieve stress, come in handy for emergencies, and provide GPS directions; but they just as easily elicit constant stress from the fear of missing out and compulsion to be continually connected. Our paper, therefore, sought to shed light on these complexities. The unique perspectives and expertise across our diverse author team truly enabled the project to take form. We worked collaboratively as we built off one another’s insights. It was a rewarding experience that culminated in a publication with clear implications for consumer wellbeing, such as being mindful and goal-driven with our smartphone use. We hope our insights help consumers recognize the challenging aspects of their smartphone relationships, while also allowing consumers to feel heard and seen.


Citation: Faber, A., Bee, C., Girju, M., Onel, N., Rossi, A. M., Cozac, M., Lutz, R. J., Nardini, G., Song, C. E. (2022). The paradoxes of smartphone use: Understanding the user experience in today's connected world. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 56(3), 1260-1283.

Abstract:  We use a paradox approach (Mick & Fournier) to explore how consumers use and experience their smartphones. To do so, we use a mixed method approach where we interviewed 28 participants across seven focus groups to learn more about when and how they used their smartphones. Participants reported many tensions with regard to their smartphone use, from which we derived one overarching paradox and five specific paradoxes, including two new paradoxes. To support and extend our qualitative findings, we also administered a questionnaire examining the proposed paradoxes and their possible connections to important consumer consequences such as ambivalence, attachment, and well-being. Overall, we found evidence of a push and pull (or ambivalent) relationship between participants and their smartphones. Specifically, its great functionality and reliability make the connection cherished, but this ongoing reliance takes away the very same things it was meant to help build.



Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page