McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Keyaira Kelly

keyaira.kelly.jpg

Major and Classification

Communication and English

Faculty Mentor

  • Lanita Jacobs-Huey, Ph.D.

Department

  • Anthropology/American Studies & Ethnicity

McNair Project

Disconnected Connections: Do communication technologies vary in their intimacy among college students?

Abstract
As the use of e-mail and cell phones becomes more frequent, one must consider if these devices create intimacy, or an illusion of intimacy. American youth use technology as a daily means of communication, therefore, it is important to understand how these technologies aid or impede the development of intimate relationships. This study investigated how communication technologies vary in their intimacy among college students. We predicted that students will disclose more information via their preferred communication technology, and that students will feel more comfortable disclosing information in face- to-face interactions as opposed to over a communication device. Inspired by previous self disclosure scales The Intimacy through Mediated Technology scale (IMT) was created to measure the willingness of self disclosure through particular communication mediums in the early to middle stages of relationships. Subjects rated their willingness to disclose information over each communication device. We expected to find a correlation between ranking of given technology (and frequency) and disclosure over said technology. Also, we expected to see a difference between communication technologies based on intimacy ratings. The results demonstrated that high self disclosure over communication technologies correlated with high self disclosure in face-to-face interactions. There were also racial differences in willingness to disclose over particular communication mediums.