A Communicative Interdependence Perspective of Close Relationships: The Connections Between Mediated and Unmediated Interactions Matter

Authors


Corresponding author: John P. Caughlin; e-mail: caughlin@illinois.edu

Abstract

In response to calls to recognize that both face-to-face (FtF) interaction and technologically mediated communication (TMC) often occur in the same relationships, we introduce a communicative interdependence perspective with a central tenet that relational closeness is associated with interconnections among modes of communication. We examined this perspective with a focus group study (N = 17) and a more extensive survey (N = 317). Consistent with the communicative interdependence predictions, relational closeness was associated positively with integration between FtF and TMC and negatively to difficulties transitioning between modes. Also, discussing topics only via technologically mediated channels was inversely associated with closeness and satisfaction, whereas discussing topics only in person was positively related to closeness and satisfaction.

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