Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Ruth Hickerson

Second Advisor

Dr. Cindy White

Third Advisor

Dr. Douglas Duncan

Abstract

Technology has become an inescapable part of romantic relationships in the 21st century. This study examines how texting identity and maintenance influences early romantic relationships based on four focus groups consisting of college students at a southwest university. Previous studies have conducted research on a multitude of topics related to texting in romantic relationships, though none of them have analyzed the strategies and accepted rules and meanings of texting in early romantic relationships. Results suggest there are gender differences in texting initiation and negative texting behaviors. Both men and women use texting strategically to maintain their partner’s interest. Women can use emojis to flirt during texting, though both men and women find it unattractive when men use emojis. Resolving conflict through texting is appropriate in early romantic relationships, yet it is difficult for individuals to understand the emotion of their romantic interest. These findings suggest the calculated thought behind each text message and the difficult process of the receiver to interpret these messages.

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