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Title:Modality switching in online dating: identifying the communicative factors that make the transition from an online to an offline relationship more or less successful
Author(s):Sharabi, Liesel L.
Director of Research:Caughlin, John
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Caughlin, John
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Knobloch, Leanne; Karahalios, Karrie; Ramirez, Artemio
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):computer-mediated communication
modality switching
online dating
relationship development
romantic relationships
Abstract:Perhaps one of the most significant turning points in online dating occurs when partners decide to meet face-to-face (FtF) for the first time. Existing theory proposes that the affordances of the Internet can lead people to develop overly positive impressions of those they meet online, which could prove advantageous for relationships initiated on online dating sites. However, empirical evidence suggests that while such hyperpersonal impressions can intensify the development of mediated relationships, they can also result in disillusionment if the first date fails to meet both partners’ expectations. Accordingly, this dissertation set out to uncover the communicative factors responsible for more or less successful transitions offline. Drawing from the computer-mediated communication (CMC) and personal relationships literatures, the present study introduced a conceptual model of relationship success in online dating and tested it using a longitudinal survey design. Participants (N = 186) were surveyed before and after their first date with someone they met on an online dating site or mobile dating app. As part of the survey, they also supplied the emails they had sent to their partner so their communication could be observed. Findings indicated that participants’ perceptions of their partner and communication processes—including perceived similarity, uncertainty, amount of communication, deception, self-disclosure, algorithmic matching, and algorithmic beliefs—predicted first date success. Furthermore, the association between participants’ perceptual processes and first date success varied as a function of how much communication, disclosure, and deception took place in the relationship prior to the first FtF meeting. The results have theoretical implications for research on CMC and personal relationships, as well as practical implications for online dating sites and their users.
Issue Date:2015-06-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Liesel Sharabi
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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