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Texting Doesn't Replace the Feel-Good Effects of Talking, Study Says
Date:1/31/2013

levels of the instant-messaging group were similar to those of a control group of girls who weren't allowed any contact with their mothers after the test.

One expert praised the study.

"I think we need to see a lot more research like this," said Bert Uchino, a professor of social psychology and health psychology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. "The fact that they kept track of cortisol and oxytocin and the finding on both measures was stress-related makes me more confident about the findings . . . They did a true experiment that can rule out a lot of alternative explanations."

Uchino pointed out, however, that while emotion-related hormones rose and fell in ways that indicated a stress response when the girls texted, participants didn't actually report feeling stressed when doing so compared to when they spoke to their mothers.

"People really don't know what's going on in their bodies," he said. "People may think this [type of communicating] is very similar, because they're not reporting any more stress. There's very little work going on like this, that's trying to compare if different modes of communication are equally effective."

A recent PEW survey confirmed that texting is becoming the primary means of communication among teens. The 2012 study found that 63 percent of teens exchange text messages every day, while 39 percent call people by cellphone on a daily basis. Twenty-two percent said they use instant-messaging daily.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics shares tips for parents on talking to kids about social media.

SOURCES: Leslie J. Seltzer, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, department of psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Bert Uchino, Ph.D., professor, social psychology and health psychology, University of U
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