Love and hooking up in the new millennium: communication technology and relationships among urban African American and Puerto Rican young adults Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • Communication technology is a central feature of young people's lives, but its role in romantic and sexual relationships has not been thoroughly examined. This article describes how young adults use communication technology for partnering across relationship stages (formation, maintenance, and dissolution) and types (serious/casual), and proposes implications of usage in relationships. This study analyzed qualitative data from a five-week, prospective, coital diary method with related debriefing interviews (N = 70) of African American and Puerto Rican men and women aged 18 to 25 years in Hartford and Philadelphia. Cell phones, including calls, text messaging, and mobile Internet, were the most common forms of communication technology used for partnering goals. Participants reported using cell phones to pursue partnering goals across all relationship stages, including formation (meeting, screening, and getting to know new partners), maintaining existing relationships, and breaking up. Cell phone uses depended on the type of relationship (serious/casual) and the participants' intentions and desires. Results indicated that cell phones are an important element of communication among young adults in romantic and sexual relationships. Specific features of cell phone communication shape the process and context of partnering. Future research should explore emerging communication technologies and implications for psychosocial development, dating violence, and sexual behavior.

Link to Article

publication date

  • 2012