Facebook and Relationship Quality
Mentor:Sharon Docter, Professor of Communication, California Lutheran University
Facebook and Relationship Quality Author: Ashley Adelman, California Lutheran University Mentor: Sharon Docter, Ph.D., Communication Department, California Lutheran University This study examined the quality of Facebook relationships. While research suggests that Facebook is used to facilitate friendships, there is little information about the actual quality of these friendships. This study provides insight into people’s Facebook “friends” lists and how they compare to their offline friendship network. Relying on social presence theory, uncertainty reduction theory, and social context cue theory, the researcher hypothesized that while Facebook is not used to form friendships, it is used to reinforce existing friendships. A survey was distributed to a convenience sample of students at a small, private liberal arts college (n=110). Data revealed that Facebook is used mostly to connect with people that users already know and that relationships existing both on Facebook and offline are perceived as closer than those that exist offline only, supporting the hypothesis. Discussion focuses on why the perception of closeness equates to reinforcement and the properties of Facebook that facilitate relationship reinforcement.