An investigation of college students using Facebook as a medium to form intimate relationships: Through the theoretical lens of TMIM

Marisa Geisser, University of Rhode Island


This study investigated if college students use Facebook as a medium to connect with individuals to whom they are physically, sexually, and/or relationally attracted, in hopes of forming a monogamous or polygamous intimate relationship. A stratified random sample was used for this study. Participants for this study were 297 drawn from a sampling frame of 400 undergraduate students enrolled in the basic communication course at the University of Rhode Island. The questionnaire distributed for this study had four sections, comprised respectively of items drawn from other studies’ measures that were found to be highly valid and reliable. The first section consisted of demographic factors used by Ellison, Steinfield & Lampe (2007). The second section was related to social desirability and was adapted from Ray (1984). The third section focused on Facebook use and intensity and used several items adapted from Ellison et al. (2007). The fourth section dealt with intimate relationship formation on Facebook through the Theory of Motivated Information Management. Items used were adapted from Afifi and Weiner (2005). All of the data used for this study was entirely based on self-report items of cognitions and behaviors in regards to courtship and technology. Originally, out of a sampling frame of 400 potential participants, there were 297 respondents. The demographic analysis of this sample dealt with predominately white students (88.9%), between the ages of 18–20 (93.1%), who identified themselves as straight (96.5%). Based on the results an ANOVA analysis was run to gain insight into RQ 1, and what was found was there is no significant difference in which medium the respondents use to gather information between men and women. Another ANOVA analysis was run to see if there were any gender differences between the two groups in what they actually use Facebook for. H1 and H 2 were seeking to prove that both men and women do use Facebook for intimate reasons, but for different intimate reasons. Therefore it can be argued that college students are in fact using Facebook for intimate reasons but for different intimate reasons to answer RQ1. In regards to RQ2, the TMIM factor that showed the most variance was factor one which was related to anxiety, which showed to have an impact on Facebook use for intimate reasons.

Subject Area

Communication|Web Studies

Recommended Citation

Marisa Geisser, "An investigation of college students using Facebook as a medium to form intimate relationships: Through the theoretical lens of TMIM" (2011). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1491458.