Love Online: How Relationship Awareness on Facebook Relates to Relationship Quality Among College Students.

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Recent literature has provided evidence that online behaviors may be a manifestation of off-line cognitions; furthermore online self-presentations may shape off-line outcomes. The present study examined the associations between the individual difference variable of authenticity (measured via relationship and dispositional authenticity), relationship awareness on Facebook (conveyed through posting one’s relationship status as being “in a relationship,” displaying a “partnered” relationship status, posting pictures with one’s partner, and posting status updates including or about one’s partner), and overall relationship quality among college students. Furthermore, relationship awareness on Facebook was explored as a possible mediator of the relationship between authenticity and relationship quality. After controlling for dispositional authenticity, we found a direct relationship between relationship authenticity and relationship quality such that individuals who demonstrated a higher degree of relationship authenticity tended to report higher levels of relationship quality. In addition, results revealed an indirect effect of relationship authenticity on relationship quality through relationship awareness. Our findings suggest that those high in relationship authenticity may be more intrinsically motivated to express themselves as part of a couple on Facebook, which in turn may affect their global relationship functioning. This study offers a method of studying relationship awareness in an online context.

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... An examination of the current literature confirmed that transient forms of relationship visibility have not received as much attention in research compared to more enduring forms (Cole et al., 2018). Yet, in this study, both enduring and transient forms of actual relationship visibility were examined and, to reduce the common method variance, daily postings were measured by gathering data directly from individuals' Facebook accounts (Steers et al., 2016). ...
... 3-Have you ever posted a picture of yourself and your partner as your profile picture? 4-Have you identified who your partner is in your relationship status box?; Steers et al., 2016). Each component has been rated using a dichotomous score. ...
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The purpose of this paper was to document the use of social media in romantic relationships. More specifically, we examined whether the information that people desired to share (i.e., desired relationship visibility) and shared in practice (i.e., actual relationship visibility) about their romantic relationships on Facebook was predicted by their level of relational commitment. A sample of 139 couples, users of Facebook, aged 17 to 30 years, participated in the study. Participants completed questionnaires and used the Friendship application on Facebook (which gathered data directly from their Facebook accounts). The mediating role of desired relationship visibility in the link between relational commitment and actual relationship visibility on Facebook (i.e., declared relationship status and transient relationship visibility) was investigated using path analyses for dyadic data. Results of actor-partner interdependence mediation model analyses confirmed that women’s relational commitment was positively associated with their desired relationship visibility on Facebook. Men’s and women’s desired relationship visibility were, in turn, associated with their own and their partner’s declared relationship status and their own transient relationship visibility on Facebook. Our results provided evidence of the dyadic nature of Facebook self-presentations of coupledom.
... Couple online visibility was associated with elevated romance, love, and jealousy (Orosz, Szekeres, Kiss, Farkas & Roland-Lévy 2015), supplemented with increased relationship satisfaction, commitment, investment and lower perceived relational alternatives (Lane, Piercy & Carr, 2016). Because it was a sign of public commitment, couple visibility established relationship quality (Steers, Øverup, Brunson & Acitelli, 2016;Papp, Danielewicz & Cayemberg, 2012). Starting from the idea that online behaviours are associated with offline relational outcomes, Steers, Øverup, Brunson and Acitelli (2016) found that online relationship authenticity (i.e., to express himself or herself on SNSs as part of a couple) positively affected the global relationship of 188 adults ages 18 to 53 years of age. ...
... Because it was a sign of public commitment, couple visibility established relationship quality (Steers, Øverup, Brunson & Acitelli, 2016;Papp, Danielewicz & Cayemberg, 2012). Starting from the idea that online behaviours are associated with offline relational outcomes, Steers, Øverup, Brunson and Acitelli (2016) found that online relationship authenticity (i.e., to express himself or herself on SNSs as part of a couple) positively affected the global relationship of 188 adults ages 18 to 53 years of age. Indeed, most research (e.g. ...
Social Network Sites (SNS) have changed the landscape for inter-personal communication and relationship maintenance (Hertlein & Stevenson, 2010). SNS is in fact a type of social media outlet, a web-based-service that allows maintenance of social relationships within one's publicly visible social network (Ellison, 2007). Connecting two billion users every day (Facebook, 2017), Facebook is one of today's most popular SNSs; its expansion has increased the scientific community's interest, giving social scientists the opportunity to observe behaviour, to test hypotheses , and to recruit participants in a naturalistic and new setting. In the first wide literature review of Facebook, Wilson, Gosling and Graham (2012) established five areas of research: characteristics of users, motivations, identity presentation strategies, privacy and information disclosure, and the role of Facebook on social interaction. However, the authors did not systematically distinguish the role of Facebook on friendship and on romantic social interactions. A recent attempt to analyse the role of SNSs on romantic relationships was pursued systematically by Rus and Tiemensma's (2017). With the aim of identifying theory-based approaches and methodological constructs (i.e., attachment style or romantic jealousy) used for studying the association between SNS use and romantic relationships , authors considered twenty-six peer-reviewed articles published between 2000 Empirical studies reveal Social Network Sites (SNS) have multiple applications related to intimate relationships. Through SNS, people can meet partners, maintain relationships, and portray commitment. Existing evidence includes both positive and negative outcomes for offline Romantic Relationships (oRRs). Nevertheless, unification and coherent frameworks on the relationship between SNSs' use and quality of oRR and factors influencing these relationships have not been provided. This was the aim of this systematic literature review that analysed a corpus of 65 peer-reviewed articles. Results from the study uncovered positive and negative outcomes of SNS on the quality of oRR in relation to online behaviour that is at least partially guided-i.e., moderated-by individual differences of the people involved, especially by the individual's attachment style. Imperato, C., & Mancini, T. (2019). «Couples in trouble» because of Social Networks? A systematic review. Psicologia sociale, 14(2), 165-204.
... Les études traitant des relations amoureuses chez les jeunes adultes ont également mis en évidence que : les jeunes adultes peuvent surveiller les activités en ligne de leur partenaire en lien avec l'augmentation du sentiment de jalousie (Muise et al., 2009) ; l'utilisation active d'un réseau social (Twitter) peut conduire à l'infidélité, à la rupture ou au divorce (Clayton, 2014) ; ou encore que les jeunes peuvent se sentir poussés à utiliser un réseau social (Facebook) pour maintenir/entretenir des relations (Fox & Moreland, 2015). D'un point de vue moins négatif, d'autres résultats ont indiqué d'une part, qu'ils utilisent les réseaux sociaux pour établir des liens positifs avec leur partenaire, ce qui peut accroître la satisfaction dans la relation (Papp et al., 2012) et d'autre part, que les mises à jour des publications, les mises à jour de photos avec leur partenaire ainsi que l'officialisation en ligne de la relation permet d'améliorer la qualité de la relation (Steers et al., 2015). (Michikyan et al., 2014(Michikyan et al., , 2015. ...
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De nos jours, les configurations socio-technologiques modernes conduisent les communautés scientifiques, médicales et éducatives à de nombreux débats concernant les usages numériques des jeunes. Les périodes d’adolescence et d’émergence de l’âge adulte correspondent toutes deux à une phase d’exploration identitaire, qui consiste à tester des rôles dans différents contextes et à les intégrer dans une identité personnelle cohérente. Des recherches traitant du bien-être des jeunes au travers de leurs usages numériques suggèrent qu’une utilisation forte peut mener les jeunes à des issues défavorables sur le plan socio-émotionnel tandis que d’autres indiquent que ces espaces peuvent permettre de développer des compétences psychosociales, de se sentir soutenus émotionnellement. Ce travail de recherche vise à proposer un cadre conceptuel et méthodologique qui permet d’étudier les relations entre les expériences en ligne des jeunes et leur développement psychosocial au travers de la construction de leur identité et de leur niveau d’ajustement psychologique, tout en prenant en compte les caractéristiques spécifiques des jeunes (ie., période d’âge et sexe). Notre population se compose d’adolescents scolarisés en lycée et de jeunes adultes étudiants de l’enseignement supérieur. Ce travail de recherche comportait 3 temps de mesure : un premier temps en Décembre 2018 (N=1970), un second temps en Mars 2019 (N=970), et un troisième temps en Mai/Juin 2019 (N=819). Les participants ont répondu à un ensemble de questionnaires évaluant les usages numériques, les processus de la construction identitaire et les indices d’ajustement psychologique. Les données ont été traitées selon une double approche, à la fois centrée sur les personnes et centrée sur les variables. En complément, des entretiens semi-directifs ont été réalisés quatre mois après le recueil de données quantitatives. Nos résultats soulignent une grande diversité chez les jeunes et ont permis d’identifier des profils contrastés : 6 profils d’usages numériques et 7 statuts identitaires. Des analyses en tri-croisés indiquent des liens cohérents et stables entre les profils d’usages numériques et les statuts identitaires. Concernant l’ajustement psychologique, nos résultats indiquent que les profils d’usages numériques caractérisés par une présentation de soi authentique en ligne, et les statuts identitaires caractérisés par des engagements forts, présentent les meilleurs niveaux d’ajustement psychologique. A l’inverse, les profils d’usages numériques caractérisés par une présentation de soi en ligne falsifiée, et les statuts identitaires associés à de faibles engagements s’accompagnent des niveaux d’ajustement psychologique les plus faibles. L’étude des liens croisés-décalés entre le processus identitaire mal-adaptatif d’exploration ruminative et les variables d’usages numériques, en considérant les variabilités intra et inter-individuelles au fil du temps (ie., RI-CLPM), révèle de nombreuses associations spécifiques selon la période d’âge et le sexe des jeunes. Les entretiens semi-directifs ont permis de préciser le vécu psychologique d’une adolescente et d’une jeune adulte, et soulignent quelques différences d’usages liées à leurs motivations et à leurs niveaux de développement. Ces résultats permettent de compléter la littérature et de développer un nouveau regard sur les usages numériques des jeunes français. Des usages numériques semblent être problématiques pour le développement psychosocial de certains jeunes, tandis que pour d’autres, ils peuvent être plus favorables en termes de construction de l’identité et d’ajustement psychologique. Cette étude souligne l’importance de caractériser les usages numériques en prenant en compte la période d’âge et le sexe des jeunes de façon à apprécier leur incidence sur le développement psychosocial. Enfin, cette étude conduit à dégager des perspectives de recherche et des recommandations appliquées en matière d’éducation et de santé.
... In order to maximize neutrality regarding technology use, also positively valenced ICT variables, such as using media as a reward (Coyne et al., 2014) and using social-media platforms to promote relationship awareness (e.g., Steers et al., 2016), were excluded. ...
Information and communication technology (ICT) facilitates communication within families but may also displace face-to-face communication and intimacy. The aims of this systematic review were to investigate what positive and negative relationship outcomes are associated with ICT use in families, and whether and how the outcomes differ depending on relationship type (romantic relationship, parent–child relationship, or sibling). Included in the review were research published in English between 2009 and 2019 studying the effects of ICT on family relationships with quantitative data. 70 peer-reviewed articles (73 studies) were retrieved and categorized based on four types of ICT variables: personal use, personal use in the presence of a family member (technoference), communication between family members, and co-use with family members. Personal use and technoference were mostly related to negative outcomes due to, for example, displaced attention and more frequent conflicts. Romantic partners were especially strongly negatively affected displaying stressors unique to romantic relationships, such as infidelity. By contrast, communication and co-use showed mostly positive effects across all relationship types. In particular, “rich” communication media resembling face-to-face interaction were strongly associated with positive outcomes. We conclude that ICT impacts family relations in different ways, depending on both the type of relationship and type of ICT use. Personal ICT use tends to weaken both parenting and romantic relationships in ways that can partly be mitigated by co-use and communication. Directions for future research include, assessing how often ICT is used in relationship-strengthening versus relationship-interfering ways, investigating causal pathways between ICT use and relationship quality, and focusing on understudied relationship types, such as siblings and grandparents.
... pointed out that making the couple visible on Facebook, by posting the relationship status or publishing couple pictures, was a sign of public commitment; therefore, partners with relational status 'in a relationship' claimed to be 'out of market', i.e. not available. Online couple visibility was found to positively correlate with relational satisfaction (Emery et al., 2015;Papp et al., 2012) and with the overall relationship quality (Steers et al., 2016). Becoming FBO led to high levels of closeness (Castañeda et al., 2015;Saslow et al., 2013), love (Sabiniewicz et al., 2017), intimacy and support (Sherrell & Lambie, 2016), high commitment (Castañeda et al., 2015), relationship longevity (Toma & Choi, 2015), and high level of communication . ...
Facebook has been identified as one of the most influential social network site (SNS) in the formation, maintenance and interruption of romantic relationships. Over the last decade, several studies have been carried out on Facebook and romantic relationships; however, there is still lack of evidence on how the reciprocal perceptions of partners’ behaviours on Facebook relate with couple relationship quality. This study aimed to fill this gap examing whether and to what extent participants’ surveillance and visibility behaviour related with the perception of their partner’s surveillance and visibility behaviour, and to what extent this perception related with both romantic jealousy and relationship quality. A sample of 635 heterosexual women having a romantic relationship participated in a study, which consisted of answering an online questionnaire with items on both the participants’ and their partner’s online behaviour. Path analyses were used for testing the hypotheses. Results showed that Facebook supported behaviours that can affect the quality of romantic relationship. Contrary to what expected, both online surveillance and couple visibility positively related with romantic jealousy, which in turn mediated the relation between surveillance and relationship quality, thereby worsening the participants’ perception of couple relationship quality.
... Relationship awareness can be manifested on Facebook by integrating a partner into one's self-presentation. Steers, Øverup, Brunson, and Acitelli (2016) proposed three manifestations of relationship awareness on Facebook, including posting a dyadic photo as a profile picture, posting a partnered relationship status on the Facebook profile, and tagging the partner in status updates. Their survey results showed that all three were positively associated with the senders' relationship authenticity and relationship exclusivity. ...
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Facebook is a prevalent SNS platform used to express satisfaction in a romantic relationship. However, specific functions of Facebook that foster relationship satisfaction and the underlying mechanism of how the Facebook usage is perceived by a partner require further investigation. Relationship awareness, or paying attention to one’s romantic relationship and interaction patterns within a romantic relationship, may be a key determinant of satisfaction in a romantic relationship between Facebook users. Past research focused on the effect of cues that signal relationship awareness to one’s partner during face-to-face interactions. Extending the existing literature, we focused on how a partner perceives relationship awareness cues expressed on Facebook. We found a positive impact of different relationship awareness cues on Facebook on relationship satisfaction and a mediating role of the perception of a partner’s commitment. When imagining a partner’s Facebook page that showed faithful acts such as uploading a dyadic photo and removing a personal photo, participants expected high commitment from a partner, which, in turn, predicted high relationship satisfaction. Our findings offer specific ways to communicate with a romantic partner through Facebook to foster satisfaction in a relationship. We also discuss the importance of highlighting online communication as behavioral cues.
... That is, they share more potentially embarrassing relationship information online than they normally do off-line, with this online sharing taking the form of comments or photographs. Because these displays are unusual, they may better represent mate retention tactics than the displays examined by Saslow et al. (2013), which are commonplace among satisfied couples (e.g., Emery, Muise, Alpert, & Le, 2015;Steers, Øverup, Brunson, & Acitelli, 2016). Moreover, public relationship displays are only one way Facebook is involved in romantic relationships. ...
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The current study examined associations between the Big 5, relationship maintenance activities on Facebook (public displays and partner surveillance), and Facebook-related relationship difficulties (conflict and jealousy). Two hundred fifty-seven individuals currently involved in romantic relationships completed an online survey assessing Facebook activity and the Big 5. Greater extraversion and conscientiousness were associated with higher frequency of displays of dyadic photographs and posts on one’s own or one’s partner’s Facebook page. High extraversion, low openness, and low conscientiousness were associated with engaging in excessive public displays on Facebook. High extraversion and neuroticism were associated with greater partner surveillance and Facebook-related conflict. Neuroticism was also associated with more Facebook-induced jealousy. Surveillance mediated the associations between these two traits and these negative outcomes. Openness and conscientiousness were associated with experiencing fewer negative outcomes of Facebook use.
... Relatedly, Facebook engagement has been found to be positively associated with greater perceived social support [6]. Furthermore, posting about one's romantic relationship on Facebook has been associated with increased connectedness [7,8] and greater commitment [9]. Conversely, studies have also demonstrated dystopic, interpersonal effects related to Facebook use. ...
... For example, with more than a billion monthly active users worldwide (Facebook, 2012), the social networking site Facebook has brought McLuhan's idea of a global village to fruition, fundamentally altering the dynamics of human interaction. Prior research has tied Facebook use to positive effects such as fulfillment of ego needs (Toma & Hancock, 2013), greater subjective well-being (Kim & Lee, 2011), and higher relationship quality for those in a romantic relationship (Steers, Øverup, Brunson, & Acitelli, 2014). However, for some individuals the results of such cyber exchanges may be more dystopian than utopian. ...
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Two studies investigated how social comparison to peers through computer-mediated interactions on Facebook might impact users' psychological health. Study 1 (N = 180) revealed an association between time spent on Facebook and depressive symptoms for both genders. However, results demonstrated that making Facebook social comparisons mediated the link between time spent on Facebook and depressive symptoms for men only. Using a 14-day diary design (N = 152), Study 2 found that the relationship between the amount of time spent on Facebook and depressive symptoms was uniquely mediated by upward, nondirectional, and downward Facebook social comparisons. Similarly, all three types of Facebook social comparisons mediated the relationship between the number of Facebook logins and depressive symptoms. Unlike Study 1, gender did not moderate these associations. Both studies provide evidence that people feel depressed after spending a great deal of time on Facebook because they feel badly when comparing themselves
Given the increasing dependency on social networking sites in modern society, gaining a clearer and more nuanced understanding of whether and how use of this medium is related to relationship quality is of unprecedented importance. The current study reports the first meta-analytic investigation of this research literature, integrating results from 53 independent datasets and 13,873 participants. The data provide evidence for both beneficial and damaging associations, with ones' own or perceived partners’ relational commitment, trust, and uncertainty most consistently explaining these relationships. With respect to positive associations, greater security was related to greater engagement of online positive relationship focused behaviors, such as uploading dyadic photos and having a visible and accurate relationship status. With respect to negative associations, lower security was associated with a greater propensity to pursue alternatives online, and for greater social networking site intrusion. Specific individual and relationship characteristics also influenced the magnitude of certain associations. Taken together, these data indicate that although the landscape of modern relationships has been substantially altered by the introduction of social networking sites, traditional relationship theories of investment and relational maintenance remain highly relevant to understanding which interpersonal behaviors are associated with specific relationship outcomes. This identification of a modern online translation of traditional relationship theories not only has important theoretical implications, but at a practical level can be used to inform the guidance provided to couples seeking to preserve or strengthen their relationships.
Jennifer van Alstyne, MA, MFA is a communications strategist for faculty and researchers. As owner of The Academic Designer LLC, she helps people and organizations share their work with the world online. Jennifer is a Peruvian‐American poet and independent scholar. Katie Burr, PhD currently serves as the Associate Director of Assessment at the University of Georgia (UGA). Her research interests explore intersections of student affairs and anthropology; specifically, examining campus traditions, construction of campus environments and cultures, and student development theory. Katie’s previous professional experience is in orientation and first‐year experience programming. When she isn’t working, Katie is a mom and wife, and enjoys running and being outdoors. Katie earned her PhD in Education from UGA in 2020, her MEd in College Student Affairs Administration from UGA in 2011, and her BA in Sociology from Elon University in 2007. Erik S. Dey, EdD has been involved in the field of education for more than 20 years. His formal education includes a Master of Arts from the University of Connecticut and a Doctorate of Education from New England College. Erik has taught at institutions on three continents including the position of Guest Professor at the International University in Vienna, Austria, and worked in Bhaktapur, Nepal as a curriculum writer and educational trainer at The Unique International Academy. Additionally, he has conducted research on school climate for the US Department of Justice and Civil Rights Division. Currently, Erik serves as a member of his local Board of Education and works as a public school educator. Erik and his family live in Connecticut, where they frequently discuss education and politics in the global community.
Courses: Interpersonal Communication; Relational Communication. Objectives: Students who complete this activity should be able to (1) understand the staircase model of relationships; (2) explain how social media has influenced the ways in which relationships develop and dissolve; (3) discuss advantages and limitations of the staircase model; and (4) recognize the value of using theoretical models of communication to understand everyday life.
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This dissertation discusses findings on the relationship between interpersonal relationships offline and social networking online.
This book presents compelling empirical evidence, collected in the US and Europe, that how one reacts to others’ ups and downs may profoundly affect their own mental health. Depression continues to devastate a growing number of lives globally. More than 350 million people worldwide have depression (Smith, 2014). While medications and psychotherapy help many, more solutions are urgently needed. Since social factors are known to be influential, innovative exploration of the interpersonal dimensions of depression is vital. This book explains how expressing greater empathy can help. This book is directed at a broad audience, including everyone seeking better relationships, clients wanting to amplify their recovery experience, as well as clinicians and students interested in helping others who struggle with depression. Schadenfreude (deriving pleasure from others’ misfortune) helps explain our inordinate interest in others’ pain and bad luck. It is why in the news “if it bleeds, it leads," why so much fiction focuses on tragedy, why attention rivets on the latest celebrity arrest or rehab, and why people poor through obituaries. Granted, schadenfreude is not the whole story. Seeking information about potential threats has survival significance. Part of our brains evolved to focus laser-like on even low risk dangers. And people’s huge appetite for bad news about others’ lives has its social advantages. When adroitly conveyed, this interest communicates concern and caring. It comforts and connects people. But if the joy that other people’s problems occasionally gives you becomes unveiled, watch out. Nothing hurts more when someone’s down than seeing their own despair delight the listener or obviously make the listener feel lucky (“I’m positively thrilled not to be in that fix; better you than me!"). The trick, in friendship and other helping relationships, is to dampen expressions of schadenfreude and instead emphasize empathy. But not everyone is skilled at this, which frequently seems to result in interpersonal difficulties and enhanced risk of depression. This book was designed to highlight the perils of excessive schadenfreude when others stumble, as well as the promise of building better relationships through greater expression of “freudenfreude” (sharing others’ joy) when others’ succeed. Understanding these issues may help the reader improve relationships and reduce depressive symptoms, or possibly enable the reader to assist others battle depression more successfully. Long-term recovery depends heavily upon establishing and maintaining an effective support system. Learning how to balance one’s selfish and cooperative impulses more thoughtfully can be extremely useful in building a more robust social network. As humanity contends with modern threats, including the hazards of planetary warming, successful solutions require emphasizing empathy and our interconnectedness while curbing our short-term, selfish inclinations. Although responding more optimally to depression is the focus of this book, it invites the application of these ideas to even broader concerns.
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