Attachment, Self-disclosure, and New Technologies: Investigating the Connection between Attachment and Self-Disclosure Across Different Communication Technologies
AuthorBrunner, Steven R.
AdvisorRains, Stephen 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.
EmbargoRelease after 07-Aug-2019
AbstractThe purpose of this dissertation was to explore the connection between attachment and self-disclosure behavior across communication technologies. Very little research has explored the connection between attachment and self-disclosure, and no studies have examined the relationship in the context of communication technologies. Drawing on attachment theory, self-disclosure literature, and communication technology research, this dissertation predicted that individuals with high anxious or high avoidance attachment would capitalize on the affordances of communication technologies and be associated with more self-disclosure behavior. Two studies were completed to test these hypotheses. Study one (n = 479) was a cross-sectional survey using participants recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Study two (n = 309) was an experiment where participants had their attachment system activated by experiencing a threatening situation hypothetically. Both studies had participants report self-disclosure behavior with their romantic partner in frequency and degree of intimacy. Each participant was randomly assigned one communication channel to report on (e.g., face-to-face, text messaging, email, or social networking sites). The results from the two studies provided mixed results for attachment and self-disclosure behavior across communication technologies. In general, anxious attachment was positively associated with self-disclosure frequency and degree of intimacy regardless of which channel was used, which was expected. Avoidance attachment was negatively associated with self-disclosure frequency, but only when the participant was experiencing a threatening situation. Neither attachment style interacted with the number of cues perceived to be available in a communication channel in the proposed direction when predicting self-disclosure behavior. However, both attachment dimensions interacted with a channel’s perceived expectation for response when predicting self-disclosure intimacy. When participants were not experiencing a threat to their security, those with high anxious or high avoidance attachment reported self-disclosing more intimately in channels perceived to have less expectation for response. Together these findings suggest individuals with high anxious attachment may use self-disclosure as a hyperactivating strategy to connect with an attachment figure. Individuals with high avoidance attachment choose not to self-disclose as a deactivating strategy that prevents intimacy from forming. Additionally, individuals with high anxious or high avoidance attachment can capitalize on a channel’s expectation for response and feel comfortable self-disclosing something intimate in a channel perceived to have a low expectation for response.
Degree ProgramGraduate College