Disclosure Decisions in Existing Relationships Online: Exploring Motivations for CMC Channel Choice

Disclosure Decisions in Existing Relationships Online: Exploring Motivations for CMC Channel Choice

Kathryn Greene (Rutgers University, USA) and Kate Magsamen-Conrad (Rutgers University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch704

Abstract

Use of mediated channels of communication, such as email and instant messenger, is rapidly increasing, especially with adolescents and college-aged populations. This increase may alter interpersonal relationship maintenance strategies and communication patterns. The role of mediated channels of communication in some types of relationship initiation is well documented however, research investigating use within existing relationships is more limited. Self-disclosure is an important part of relationship maintenance, both in the initial stages of development as well as in existing relationships. This chapter explores motivations for disclosure through computer mediated communication (CMC) in pre-existing relationships and describes theoretical perspectives to advance examination of this area. Examples presented indicate four primary motivations for disclose through computer mediated communication: self, other, relationship, and situational/environmental. Further, we propose several codes within each primary reason, many of which diverged from traditional motivations for FtF disclosure. Implications and future directions for interpersonal CMC research are discussed.

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