Academic journal article College Student Journal

Relationship Maintenance on Facebook: Development of a Measure, Relationship to General Maintenance, and Relationship Satisfaction

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Relationship Maintenance on Facebook: Development of a Measure, Relationship to General Maintenance, and Relationship Satisfaction

Article excerpt

Previous research indicates that the primary reason college students use Facebook is for relationship maintenance. The present study sought to determine the relationship between Facebook maintenance and general maintenance efforts in college student romantic relationships, as well as the impacts of such behaviors on the relationship. Survey data were collected from 189 individuals in romantic relationships. Based on previous research, scale items were developed to measure the use of positivity, assurances, and openness via Facebook. Results indicate that the scale items loaded onto the predicted factors, and that they demonstrated internal reliability. However, the correlations between the general versions of assurances and positivity and the online measures of those same behaviors were not strong, and the correlation between the general version of openness and the online version of that behavior was insignificant. Facebook positivity was moderately, positively correlated with relationship satisfaction, and Facebook assurances demonstrated a slight, positive correlation with relationship satisfaction. When controlling for more general maintenance behavior, Facebook positivity was the sole online behavior to predict satisfaction, contributing only three percent of the variance of relational satisfaction.

**********

The booming of the Facebook era in everyday practice has corresponding with increased interest in the study of how the social networking site has influenced interpersonal relationships, especially among college students. A majority of these studies has indicated that the primary motive for individuals' use of Facebook is to maintain relationships (e.g., Craig & Wright, 2012; Sheldon, 2008; Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe, 2009). Yet, few studies to date have investigated the means by which Facebook allows for maintenance, nor has the relative impact of Facebook maintenance on the relationship been assessed. This study seeks to ameliorate that gap through a focus on the maintenance strategies used to sustain college student romantic relationships via Facebook. In addition, the relative impact of general maintenance activity and Facebook maintenance will be examined, with a particular focus on predicting relationship satisfaction.

First, definitional issues need to be addressed. Relationship maintenance refers to the cognitions, behaviors, and interactions that individuals engage in to keep their relationship in a desired state (Dainton, 2003). Although there are numerous approaches to the study of maintenance, the operationalization of romantic relationship maintenance provided by Stafford, Canary and colleagues is used most frequently (Canary & Stafford, 1992; Stafford & Canary, 1991; Stafford, Dainton & Haas, 2000). The original relationship maintenance strategy measure (RMSM) includes five behaviors: positivity (being upbeat and cheerful around the partner), openness (disclosing what the individual wants or needs out of the relationship), assurances (reassuring the partner about the individual's commitment), networks (relying on common friends and family) and sharing tasks (performing instrumental activities that help the relationship to function). The revised RMSM measure developed by Stafford et al. (2000) also includes measures of advice (providing the partner with thoughts about situations s/he is dealing with) and integrative conflict management (that is, positive means of resolving conflict).

As scholars of interpersonal communication have recognized the frequency with which interpersonal communication relies on mediated communication technologies, research has begun to examine how relationship maintenance might occur using mediated communication as well (e.g., Bryant & Marmo, 2009; Craig & Wright, 2012; Dainton & Aylor, 2002a; Ledbetter, 2009, 2010; Rabby, 2007). Scholars have struggled to keep up with the rapid changes in mediated communication technologies, however. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.