This study examines how email is utilized to enact maintenance behaviors in interpersonal relationships and explores whether geographic distance between individuals affects this process. Two hundred twenty-six college students accumulated personal email messages over a one-week period. These emails were coded using Canary and Stafford's (1994) maintenance strategy topology. Results indicate that self-disclosure (openness), discussing social networks, and positivity were the main categories found in email to family members and friends. For romantic partners, the most common categories were assurances, openness, positivity, and discussing social networks. Romantic partners and family members were more likely than friends to use assurances, and family members were more likely than romantic partners to refer to the social network. There were few differences between geographically close and long-distance interpersonal relationships.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science Applications
- Computer Networks and Communications