Couples and computer-mediated communication: A closer look at the affordances and use of the channel

Martha S. Perry, Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The use of the Internet, mobile phones, and other technology is becoming commonplace for the purpose of interpersonal communication. Romantic relationships are one type of interpersonal relationship that utilizes computer-mediated communication (CMC). This study assesses the use of CMC by couples for problem-solving-type discussions. Ninety-four individuals (47 couples) engaged in problem-solving discussions in both face-to-face (FtF) and CMC conditions. Couples also participated in a semi-structured interview where they were asked how and why they use CMC in their relationship. Results suggest that couples experienced similar levels of satisfaction in the CMC and FtF conditions and that attitudes and history of CMC use significantly predict levels of satisfaction in the CMC condition. Couples also reported experiences of using CMC for conflict-resolution-type purposes. Results from the interviews suggest that the use of CMC allows for de-escalation of conflict and increases time to construct ideas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-134
Number of pages15
JournalFamily and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Communication satisfaction
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Couples
  • Electronic communication
  • Problem solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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