Individual differences in attachment are associated with usage and perceived intimacy of different communication media

Britney M. Wardecker, William J. Chopik, Margaret P. Boyer, Robin S. Edelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Effective communication is vital to the health and functioning of romantic relationships. Technology use is becoming more pervasive, making it more important than ever to understand which forms of media enhance communication in close relationships. People differ in which communication methods they prefer, and it is important to understand how people perceive and use various media. Our study uses an attachment theory framework to explore how people perceive the intimacy of different media and their preferred methods of communication with romantic partners. We collected online survey data from partnered individuals regarding their romantic attachment orientation, perceptions of the intimacy of various media (face-to-face, phone call, text message, email), and preferred use of those media for communicating with romantic partners. People with a more avoidant attachment orientation (i.e., who prefer self-reliance over interdependence) were less likely to prefer communication methods that are generally perceived as more close and immediate (e.g., face-to-face); however, our findings suggest that avoidant individuals prefer not to use these methods because they perceive them to be less intimate and less likely to resolve interpersonal conflicts. Our findings suggest that certain forms of communication may be more beneficial for avoidant individuals and their romantic relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-27
Number of pages10
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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