U txt WHEN? College students' social contexts of text messaging

Marissa Harrison, Angela L. Gilmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Despite an explosion in the popularity of text messaging (short message service, or SMS texting), little research has documented the prevalence of its use in various dimensions of the social landscape of young adults. We examined text messaging patterns in various social situations in a sample of college students. Unsurprisingly, participants placed a good deal of importance on texting and reported using texts frequently to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. However, a good number of participants reported texting in seemingly inopportune situations, such as while in the shower, while at work, during religious services, and while having sex. Further, most participants reported texting in situations that may be considered by some as social breaches, such as while on a date, while socializing in person with others, and to break up with and cheat on a romantic partner. Results suggest that drawbacks of this convenient, fast, and faceless mode of communication include disinhibition and inattention to one's immediate social environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-518
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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