Texting as a Multidimensional Behavior: Individual Differences and Measurement of Texting Behaviors

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Abstract

Two studies were conducted to develop and confirm a generalized measure of texting behavior, the Texting Behaviors Index, using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis on samples of undergraduate students. A solution containing 6 factors for texting behaviors was supported, which were named social connection, escapist, distracted, audacious, nurtured communication, and driving. The characteristics of these factors were explored using individual differences in personality and sensation-seeking behavior, where extraversion and disinhibition were consistent significant predictors for many types of texting. Additionally, a measure of depressive symptoms was predictive of some types of problematic texting. In general, our results support that texting is not a unidimensional social behavior, but a multidimensional behavior composed of social and nonsocial facets, including problematic behavior. The usefulness of this scale, particularly with respect to problematic texting behaviors, and future applications for empirical, survey, meta-analytic, and health research are discussed.

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