Using Technology to Connect in Romantic Relationships: Effects on Attachment, Relationship Satisfaction, and Stability in Emerging Adults


attachment, emerging adults, technology, satisfaction, stability


This exploratory path analysis was designed to identify significant associations among technology use and relationship variables in a population of emerging adults. Two hundred seventy-six young people between the ages of 18 and 25 in committed relationships completed survey questions about ways they connect with their partners using technology. Actor and partner effects were obtained. A measure of attachment behaviors in relationships was tested as a mediator. Results indicate that attachment behaviors were universally associated with relationship satisfaction and stability for both men and women. No significant associations were found with social networking sites. Male texting frequency was negatively associated with relationship satisfaction and stability scores for both partners while female texting frequency was positively associated with their own relationship stability scores. Texting to express affection was associated with higher reported partner attachment for both men and women. For men, texting to hurt their partners was negatively associated with reported partner attachment, relationship satisfaction, and stability. Male-reported partner attachment mediated the relationship between texting to hurt partners and relationship satisfaction, and mediated the relationship between texting to express affection and satisfaction. Other differences and clinical implications are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Schade, L.C., Sandberg, J., Bean, R., Busby, D., & Coyne, S. M. (2013). Using technology to connect in romantic relationships: Effects on attachment, relationship satisfaction, and stability in emerging adults. Journal of Couple &Relationship Therapy, 12, 314-338.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor