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'IM Me': Instant Messaging as Relational Maintenance and Everyday Communication
Unformatted Document Text:  Instant Messaging, Page 26 attractive relational maintenance tool for both individuals who rely primarily on oral channels as well as those who rely on written ones for managing their involvements. Moreover, our results clearly indicate that substantial variability in the nature of interactions conducted via IM with partners in ongoing relationships is attributable to individual- and relational-level factors more so than contextual ones (e.g., channel effects). A significant, yet modest, effect emerged for the respondent by partner gender interaction across the four ICR factors speaks to the importance of the individuals participating in the communication rather than the means by which it occurs. In fact, the pattern that emerged was fairly consistent with previous research comparing same-sex and cross-sex relationships in FtF interaction (Duck et al., 1991; Wheeler, Reis, & Nezlek, 1983). Duck and colleagues (1991) found that females rated their interactions higher in value and more change-producing than did males, irrespective of partner gender. Interactions with females were also rated as higher in communication quality by male and female participants. In the present study, the pattern that emerged due to participant and partner gender was best explained by their additive effect. Interactions with males were rated equally by both sexes in terms of communication quality, but females rated interactions conducted with female partners significantly higher. Males and females rated interactions with opposite sex partners as more valuable and change-producing than with same-sex ones. Differences among the types of relationships were also reflected in the nature of their interactions. Interactions conducted with lovers were of lower communication quality than those with best friends, family members, and friends. This latter finding is consistent with prior research by Duck and colleagues (1991) who reported the same pattern for interactions conducted FtF.

Authors: Ramirez, Artemio. and Broneck, Kathy.
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Instant Messaging, Page 26
attractive relational maintenance tool for both individuals who rely primarily on oral channels as
well as those who rely on written ones for managing their involvements.
Moreover, our results clearly indicate that substantial variability in the nature of interactions
conducted via IM with partners in ongoing relationships is attributable to individual- and
relational-level factors more so than contextual ones (e.g., channel effects). A significant, yet
modest, effect emerged for the respondent by partner gender interaction across the four ICR
factors speaks to the importance of the individuals participating in the communication rather than
the means by which it occurs. In fact, the pattern that emerged was fairly consistent with
previous research comparing same-sex and cross-sex relationships in FtF interaction (Duck et al.,
1991; Wheeler, Reis, & Nezlek, 1983). Duck and colleagues (1991) found that females rated
their interactions higher in value and more change-producing than did males, irrespective of
partner gender. Interactions with females were also rated as higher in communication quality by
male and female participants. In the present study, the pattern that emerged due to participant
and partner gender was best explained by their additive effect. Interactions with males were rated
equally by both sexes in terms of communication quality, but females rated interactions
conducted with female partners significantly higher. Males and females rated interactions with
opposite sex partners as more valuable and change-producing than with same-sex ones.
Differences among the types of relationships were also reflected in the nature of their
interactions. Interactions conducted with lovers were of lower communication quality than those
with best friends, family members, and friends. This latter finding is consistent with prior
research by Duck and colleagues (1991) who reported the same pattern for interactions
conducted FtF.


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