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Examining The Impact Of Texting On Romantic Relationships

2184 words - 9 pages

The purpose of this paper will be to explore the effect of communication technology on interpersonal relationships, with regard to the attachment styles of individuals in the relationships. The central thesis is that, based on the anxious and avoidant attachment styles of individuals in the relationship, the influence of text message “read receipts” will have a negative impact on couples’ overall relationship quality relative to the control. First, I will discuss the relevant literature on attachment styles, providing distinctions between anxious, and avoidant attachment styles. I will then examine research that: establishes the criterion used to measure relationship quality, explains the influence of various attachment styles on relationship quality, and describes the influence of communication technology (specifically texting) on romantic relationships, with regard to individuals’ attachment styles. Then I will discuss the novelty of my hypotheses, providing a description of the conceptual methodology required to test these theories. Finally, I will conclude this paper by discussing the implications of my proposal for future research and understanding human behavior.

The initial attachment theory, fostered by the collaboration of John Bowlby (1969) and Mary Ainsworth et al. (1978) research, focused on infant’s connection to their mother’s presence, absence and return, and established the three attachment styles: secure, anxious, and avoidant attachment (Bretherton, 1992; Li & Chan, 2012). Future research would continue to build on their theory, applying the attachment styles to adult relationships. In particular, Bartholomew’s (1990) research categorized attachment into four styles based on a two-dimensional model of positive or negative imaging of the self and the attached figure (other). Her research defined attachment as either: secure (i.e. positive image of the self and the other) dismissing (i.e. positive image of the self and negative of other) preoccupied (i.e. negative image of the self and positive image of others), and fearful (negative image of the self and negative of image of others). However, to consolidate the various measurement items that comprised adult attachment theories, Brenna, Clark, and Shaver (1998), created an exploratory factor analysis to amalgamate all measurement items under the dimensions of anxiety and avoidance. Brennan and her colleagues (1998) then developed and refined their Experience in Close Relationship—Revised scale that measures anxiety and avoidance based upon self-reported collection of data.

Additionally, the ERC—R scale allowed future research to create operational definitions for anxious and avoidant attachment styles. According to Shaver and Mikulincer (2002), anxiously attached individuals exhibit hyperactive behavior, are very perceptive of possible cues to threats to their relationship, and work extremely hard to maintain physical and emotional proximity to the attachment figure....

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