Picture perfect? Examining associations between relationship quality, attention to alternatives, and couples’ activities on Instagram

Liesel L. Sharabi, Annamariah Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

What do couples’ activities and behaviors on Instagram reveal about the quality of their relationships? To answer this question, we surveyed couples (N = 178) about their perceptions of their relationships and analyzed 3,270 of their recent Instagram posts. Actor and partner effects were found between relational quality and engagement with the relationship on Instagram (i.e., the number of couple pictures and partner-initiated likes and comments). There were also actor effects of attention to Instagram alternatives on the perceived quality and actual pursuit of alternative partners, as well as a partner effect on alternative quality. The findings contribute to extending the investment model to the digital age and have methodological implications for understanding relationship dynamics on visual social network sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alternatives
  • Instagram
  • investment model
  • relationship quality
  • social network sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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