The Affordance Utilization Model: The Role of Affordances as Relationships Develop
AuthorRuppel, Erin Katrina
AdvisorRains, Steve A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation advances the affordance utilization model (AUM), which addresses the use of communication modes affordances in personal relationships. Drawing from social penetration theory and research regarding two communication mode affordances--asynchronicity and reduced cues--the AUM predicts that these affordances are positively associated with certain conversational outcomes (specifically, conversational effectiveness and appropriateness, and self-disclosure breadth and depth) but that these associations vary as a function of relationship development. As relationships become more developed, the AUM predicts that communication mode affordances exert less impact on conversational effectiveness, conversational appropriateness, and self-disclosure in conversations in relationships. As a result, the associations between communication mode affordance use and these conversational outcomes are attenuated by relationship development. Regarding self-disclosure depth, the AUM predicts that the association between communication mode affordance use and self-disclosure depth is greatest at moderate levels of relationship development. The AUM also predicts that both use and perceived importance of affordances as a proportion of communication in relationships will decrease as those relationships become more developed. Two studies were conducted to test the AUM. The first surveyed participants regarding their most recent conversation in either a friendship (N = 147) or romantic relationships (N = 166). The second study was a diary study in which participants (N = 64) filled out a short survey after every conversation with their partner for four days. The results of the two studies provide mixed support for the AUM. Although importance of affordances was not associated with relationship development, use of affordances was generally negatively associated with relationship development, as predicted. In general, conversational appropriateness was positively associated with the use of communication mode affordances, and conversational effectiveness, self-disclosure breadth, and self-disclosure depth were negatively associated with affordances. In Study 1, increased relationship development attenuated the association between perceived asynchronicity and both conversational appropriateness and self-disclosure breadth in romantic relationships. In Study 2, increased relationship development attenuated the association between perceived reduced cues and conversational effectiveness. These findings and their implications for the AUM are discussed, and future research directions for the AUM are suggested.
Degree ProgramGraduate College