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“I luv u :)!”: A Descriptive Study of the Media Use of Individuals in Romantic Relationships

Authors


School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, JFSB 2087, Provo, UT 84602 (smcoyne@byu.edu).

Abstract

In this study, we address the communication technologies individuals within romantic relationships are using to communicate with one another, the frequency of use, and the association between the use of these technologies and couple's positive and negative communication. Participants consisted of individuals involved in a serious, committed, heterosexual relationship. The Relationship Evaluation Questionnaire instrument was used to assess a variety of relationship variables. The majority of individuals within the study frequently used cell phones and text messaging to communicate with their partner, with “expressing affection” being the most common reason for contact. Younger individuals reported using all forms of media (except for e-mail) more frequently than older participants. Relationship satisfaction did not predict specific use of media but predicted several reasons for media use. Additional analyses revealed that text messaging had the strongest association with individuals' positive and negative communication within their relationships. Specifically, text messaging to express affection, broach potentially confrontational subjects, and to hurt partners were associated with individuals' view of positive and negative communication within their relationship. Implications of the results are discussed.

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