Too close for comfort: Attachment insecurity and electronic intrusion in college students' dating relationships

Lauren A. Reed, Richard M. Tolman, Paige Safyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social media has become an important context for dating relationships among young adults. This study sought to explore how the ubiquitous and public nature of social media may interact with college students' individual characteristics to contribute to intrusiveness and invasion of privacy in dating relationships. A survey of 307 college students asked participants about their adult romantic attachment style and engagement in "electronic intrusion" (EI). EI included looking at a dating partner's private electronic information without permission, monitoring a partner's whereabouts using social media, and monitoring who a partner talks to or is friends with on social media. There were no gender differences in frequency of perpetrating EI. Results showed that level of attachment anxiety was positively associated with EI for women and men, and level of avoidance was negatively associated with EI for women. Results suggest that attachment style influences intrusive electronic dating behaviors, and social media may increase risk for anxiously attached college students to engage in EI for anxiety relief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume50
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • College students
  • Electronic victimization
  • New media
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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