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Undergraduate Research Journal

Abstract

Social media use is linked with the development and maintenance of romantic relationships, exhibiting both positive and negative effects on relationship quality depending on the social media behavior. However, many of these studies focus on a singular social media platform rather than multiple social media platforms. Also, studies on Facebook have linked anxious attachment to more surveillance and Facebook-induced jealousy (Marshall, Benjanyan, Di Castro, & Lee, 2013). Thus, the impact of social media behaviors for relationship quality may depend on attachment behaviors. Therefore, the goal of the current study is to examine how attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety predict relationship quality for established and developing relationships. Data comes from 183 college students (86.9% female, 87.4% heterosexual) who completed an online survey for ten consecutive days regarding their social media use and quality of their relationship with a romantic partner or crush. Results of linear regression analyses illustrated that avoidance was negatively associated with relationship quality for established relationships, whereas minutes spent private messaging a crush was positively associated with relationship satisfaction. Additionally, anxiety moderated the relationship between commenting and posting photos of partners for relationship satisfaction for established relationships. Avoidance moderated the relationship between commenting and relationship satisfaction for established relationships. No interactions were found between attachment behaviors and social media behaviors for quality of relationships between single participants and crushes. Attachment anxiety and avoidance may explain how social media promotes and hinders the quality of established relationships. Implications regarding attachment security and social media use will be discussed.

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