Relational quality and media use in interpersonal relationships
Baym, Nancy K.
Zhang, Yan Bing
Scholarly/refereed, author accepted manuscript
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This study examined the relationship between relational quality and media use in interpersonal relationships. In addition, the impacts of other potentially important variables such as sex and relationship type of participants and their partners were explored. College student participants focused on interaction experiences with an acquaintance, friend, romantic partner, or family member. Questions addressed the sex of relational partners, how much of participants’ total communication with relational partners is conducted in each of three media (i.e., face-to-face, phone, and internet), and the quality of relationships. Results indicated that participant sex and partner sex did not affect reported media use, whereas relationship type had significant effects on the extent to which face-to-face and telephone communication were used. Specifically, among the college students studied, face-to-face communication was used least with family members and the telephone was used most with family members. Relationships with acquaintances had the lowest relational quality and romantic relationships, while closer, were less satisfying than either family or friendship relationships. Same-sex relationships were perceived as more satisfying than cross-sex relationships. Finally, media use did not predict relational closeness or satisfaction. Results are discussed in light of previous research on mediated interpersonal communication and conceptualizations of the role of communication technology in one’s social life are highlighted.
Author final draft doi:10.1177/1461444807080339
Baym, N., Zhang, Y. B., Kunkel, A. D., Lin, M.-C, & Ledbetter, A. (2007). Relational quality and media use in interpersonal relationships. New Media & Society, 9, 735-752. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1461444807080339
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