Family Communication Patterns Mobile Phone Dependence English Language Essay

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Communication is a combination of words, gestures, facial expressions and other ways to express our meaning by involved listening and speaking (Wandberg, 2005). Through communication, people can understand each other meaning so that it can strengthen the relationship with one another. Communication is more than just a word, gesture and expression but also a sharing knowledge. Rosengren (2000) wrote that when we communicate, we make things common which can help us to gain our shared knowledge, our 'common sense' - the basic precondition for all communities. In everyday life, people usually communicate with their friends or family.

Family is the primary socialization agents, whereby children develop beliefs, attitudes and knowledge from their parents (Huang, 2010). Communication is the central of a family and the two primary functions of nurturing and control (Le Poire, 2005). Nurturing includes both verbal and non-verbal behaviors that are encouraging and supportive. Control is to guide, influence, and limits the types of behaviors supported by the family members. Different family has a different way of nurturing and control incorporates with communication, formed different types or patterns of family communication.

Communication helps us to share and connect with people either they are near or far (Mentor, 2011). As the science and technology develop, people found easy to communicate with others especially people who are far from us. By the use of a simple handheld device, mobile phone, the most pervasive communicative device that allows people to carry and connect people anywhere, anytime and with anybody they want (Park, 2005). Mobile phone also known as cell phones or smart-phones. Mobile Phone does give a lot beneficial to human development such as strengthen users' social connectedness people (Wei & Lo, 2006), interpersonal relationship (Igarashi, Takai & Yoshida, 2005) and for adolescents in terms of status (Ozcan & Kocak, 2003). Mobile phones act as a life personal assistant such as timekeeping, keeps time coordinate and a reminder for important events which improves the family bonding (Ling, 2004).

Although the use of mobile phone gives a number of benefits to people, but there are still disadvantage of using mobile phone. There are cases or studies indicate that driving while using mobile phones can increase the risk of accidents such as driving while phoning (McCartt, Hellinga & Braitman, 2006; White, Eiser & Harris, 2004). Another negative impact is health risk. When excessive use of mobile phone may be cause health-compromising behaviors such as smoking or alcohol drinking (Leena, Tomi & Arja, 2005; Toda, Monden, Kubo & Morimoto, 2006). Highlye use in mobile phone can even cause sleep disturbances, stress and even depression for both men and women (Thomee, Harenstam & Hagberg, 2011). Other than usage and health risk, prosocial behavior as well will decreased after using mobile phone (Abraham, Pocheptsova & Ferraro, 2012). Researchers also considered a term which literally means no mobile phobia, Nomophobia (Dixit, Shukla, Bhagwat, Bindal, Goyal, Zaidi & Shrivastava, 2010) whereby individuals afraid to be in an area that is no network coverage, run out of battery, gets anxious and badly affects his or her concentration level while using a mobile phone. The use of mobile phone can be an advantage or disadvantage to people. However, if we misuse or overly dependence on the mobile phone, it can affects to human development as same as how individual use substance abuse.

Therefore, in this research will look into two different functions of communications, the family communication patterns and mobile phone dependence with the definitions, concepts, study of past researches and current research results.

Family Communication Pattern (FCP)

The concept of family communication patterns (FCP) was developed by Jack McLeod and Steve Chaffee (Austin, 2007). The purpose of FCP concept is to study the effect of the family communication environment on children's attitudes and behaviors. From the family communication patterns, parents are able to teach their children in a way of how to manage and interpret the information. From FCP concept, McLeod and Chaffee divided into two dimensions: socio-oriented and concept-oriented. They categorized into four family types; protective, pluralistic, laissez-faire and consensual by evaluate the high or low of the both dimensions.

Socio-oriented communication

(Conformity Orientation)









Concept-oriented communication

(Conversation Orientation)

Figure 1: Four-fold typology of family communication patterns

From the four-fold typology of family communication patterns, families high in socio-oriented and low in concept-oriented are labeled as protective families. These families are high in the sense of obedience and agreement but lack in conceptual matters (Fitzpatrick & Ritchie, 1994; Ritchie & Fitzpatrick, 1990 as cited in Koerner & Fitzpatrick, 2002 & Baldwin, 2012). The second type is Consensual, whereby encourage open communication and explore new ideas as long as the discussion does not threaten or disturb the internal harmony of the family (Fitzpatrick & Ritchie, 1994; Ritchie & Fitzpatrick, 1990 as cited in Koerner & Fitzpatrick, 2002 & Baldwin, 2012). These families are high in both socio-oriented and concept-oriented communication. Another type of families which high in concept orientation but low in socio-orientation is known as pluralistic families. They are freely and regularly interact with one another and emphasis on the individual independent ideas in children rather than focus in the family system (Fitzpatrick & Ritchie, 1994; Ritchie & Fitzpatrick, 1990 as cited in Koerner & Fitzpatrick, 2002 & Baldwin, 2012). Last type of families which low in both dimensions where family members talk less frequently, discuss minimum topics openly with all family members, superior individuality, interactions focuses on the uniqueness and their independence from their families (Fitzpatrick & Ritchie, 1994; Ritchie & Fitzpatrick, 1990 as cited in Koerner & Fitzpatrick, 2002 & Baldwin, 2012). These families are known as Laissez-faire. According to Ritchie and Ftzpatrick (1990) suggested that family communication cannot ignore the influence of intrafamilial patterns of agreement and disagreement in the communication norms that defined the family. Hence, they revised the study of family communication pattern by changing the two dimensions, socio-oriented and concept oriented to conformity orientation and conversation orientation respectively. This is to improve the future study of family communication patterns.

Mobile Phone Dependence

To define dependence on mobile phone in terms of two factors: "excessive use and use of mobile phones in public places even when such use is considered to be a nuisance" (Toda, Monden, Kubo & Morimoto, 2006). High rate of cost and number of calls or messages sent, obstructs with other activities in daily life, changes in interpersonal relationships and affects user's health or well-being such as sleep deprivation (Choliz, 2012) are examples of a person who excessive or misuse a mobile phone. These behaviors are almost the same as to define substance abuse under Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition-Text Revision, DSM-IV-TR (as cited in Choliz, 2012). Hence, researchers studied the mobile phone dependence (MDP) tendency (Toda, Monden, Kubo & Morimoto, 2004) to measure the excessive and prohibited use in students (Billieux, 2012). Later, Bianchi and Phillips (2005) also developed mobile phone problem use scale (MPPUS) by using psychological predictors such as extraversion, neuroticism and self-esteem.

A study from Choliz (2012) developed a new mobile phone scale based on DSM-IV-TR criteria for dependence disorder whereby similar with Toda et al. (2004). Choliz (2012) highlighted that mobile phone dependence is not a view but a problem. It would be better if to develop more than just knowing the problem but to develop an intervention for those who had problem us on mobile phone.

Research Problems

One of the research problems is cultural perspectives in family communication patterns. In many years, family communication patterns have been studied for a long period of time. All the studies are mainly western based. Asian studies are improving such as study in Japanese families and Thai families. Malaysia has studied family communication patterns but only studied one particular race (Noh & Yussoff) since Malaysia is a multiracial country. Different race will have different types of family communication patterns. Study on different races or ethnicity, will give a longer view point on cultural perspectives in family communication patterns.

After the studies of internet (Young, 1996; Warden, Philips, Ogloff, 2004; Fortson, Scotto, Chen, Malone & Del Ben, 2010), the study of mobile phones is developed. The trends of mobile phones use are increasing (Pew Internet, 2010). This eventually causes the individual to become more dependence on the mobile phones. Hence, the mobile phone dependence or addiction started to investigate with psychological predictors. Other than that, researchers also emphasize in gender with mobile phone dependence especially the high level. Many predicted that females are the strongest user compare with males, but there is a particular study stated that there is no difference that gender has high mobile phone dependence (Toda, Monden & Kubo, 2006). Therefore, gender in mobile phone dependence is one of the research problems that actually take into account for larger point of view to determine whether gender has mobile phone dependence.

College students use mobile phones because of connecting with and get close with their families (Chen & Katz, 2009) but some seldom call their families and use mobile phones as leisure boredom, avoid face-to-face communication. The study of the relationship between the family communication patterns and mobile phone dependence is very limited. One study only noted a little part about family communication orientation relate with mobile phone dependence. Hence, the last research problems are to develop the study about this two variable relationship.

1.3 Research Question

RQ 1: What are the family communication patterns among university students of different races?

RQ 2: Is there gender difference in the high level of mobile phone dependence?

RQ 3: What is the significant relationship between conversation/conformity orientation and mobile phone dependence?

RQ 4: What is the significant difference among the family communication patterns in mobile phone dependence?

1.4 Research Objectives

To identify family communication patterns in different races.

To study the gender differences in high level of mobile phone dependence among the university students

To relate whether the family communication patterns dimension: conversation and conformity orientations and mobile phone dependence any significant.

To examine which four types of families has possibility of having mobile phone dependence.

1.5 Operational Definition

Family Communication Patterns (FCP) originally from Jack McLeod and Steve Chaffe (Austin, 2007) and later revised by Ritchie and Fitzpatrick (1990), known as Revised Family Communication Patterns (RFCP) so that it based on a suitable norms for future studies. FCP consist of two dimensions or orientations: 1. Conversation Orientation which defined as the degree to which families' value and create a climate of open flow of communication and exchanges of ideas about attitudes, beliefs and values (Fitzpatrick & Richie, 1994; Ritchie & Fitzpatrick, 1990 as cited in Koerner & Fitzpatrick, 2002), 2. Conformity Orientation defined as the degree to which families create a climate that stresses homogeneity of attitudes, values, and beliefs (Fitzpatrick & Richie, 1994; Ritchie & Fitzpatrick, 1990 as cited in Koerner & Fitzpatrick, 2002).

Test of mobile phone dependence (TMD) is developed by Choliz (2012). TMD is based on the criteria of DSM-IV-TR dependence disorder. TMD items use three factor analyses: abstinence, lack or control and problems and tolerance and interference. Abstinence refers the feeling of discomfort without using of mobile phone and use mobile phone as psychological problems improves. The second factor indicates difficulties to stop to use mobile phone even though with effort known as lack of control and problems. Lastly, tolerance and interference where indicate use mobile phone excessive and interferes other activities. There are two groups of mobile phone dependence: normal and high dependence which is according to Toda et al. studies. Normal dependence is normal users or not highly use on mobile phones. High dependence category indicates individuals who has highly or excessive use in mobile phones.

Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings and behaviors that given culture associates with a person's biological sex (American Psychological Association, 2011) which individuals are born male or female.

Race or racial is different culture or ethnic and religion and practices. "Race as a symbolic category, based on phenotype or ancestry and constructed according to specific social and historical contexts, that is misrecognized as a natural category" (Desmond & Emirbayer, 2009).

University students are students where seriously interested in acquiring knowledge and learn methods of study on a mature level (Znaniecki, 1994). Students who study university are people who are emerging adulthood approximately 18 to 25 years of age (Arnett, 2006, 2007 as cited in Santrock, 2009). Arnett (2006 as cited in Santrock, 2009) characterize emerging adulthood: 1. Identity exploration, 2. Instability, 3. Self-focused, 4. Feeling in between, 5. The age of possibilities, a time when individuals have an opportunity to transform their lives. Emerging adulthoods are people where they start explore their life and trying to become independent from their family and get ready being a responsible adult (Chen, 2007).

1.6 Significance of Study

There are actually very limited studies about family communication pattern and mobile phone dependence. Although debates, news paper articles mentions about mobile phone effect on family relationship especially the parenting style towards their children. Many current debates noted that parents have brought mobile devices for their only 3 years old children. Even during in a dinner table, most of the family members are focus on their mobile phones instead of having fun or chat during family dinner. It is certainty that when people depend on mobile phone it does shows impact on an interpersonal relationship or family communication.

Mobile phone dependence studies are similar with internet addiction studies which needed to be more concern on the individual usage of mobile phone as well as the psychological and physical predictors. If the study is proven that individuals suffer from mobile phone dependence, intervention, preventions or treatments programs are necessary to study so that to aware the use of mobile phone (Choliz, 2012). The preventions or treatments not just focus only in individuals but also to family and communities. Since the technology grows people are highly dependence on media and technology whether they are in schools, workplace and even at family dinner table.