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Running Head: LIT REVIEW

Literature Review By: Leslie Purnell Baldwin-Wallace College


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Literature Review Personality and Internet Dating According to E-harmony, over 40 million people in America meet online. The Internet dating business is becoming appealing to individuals who feel as if they do not have the time to look for someone in the physical world. Communicative Research has been done to look at the correlation between positive online dating experiences and an individual’s self-esteem. The following five literature reviews look at how a person’s self-esteem can be influenced depending on their offline and online dating experience. The idea of how people compose their Internet dating profile based on their conception of their actual and potential self sparked Yurchisin, Watchravesringkan, and McCabe’s (2005) interest. Their research was guided by the following questions: 1. What motivates individuals to begin the identity exploration and re-creation process by posting personal profiles on online dating services? 2. What extent do individual profiles represent current conceptualizations of themselves? 3. What extent do individual profiles represent themselves as what they would like to possess in the future? 4. What effect does an e-mail response have on an individual’s identity? 5. What effect does an offline encounter with other users have on an individual’s identity? To help get a better grasp on these questions one main method was used. Yurchisin et al. (2005) conducted an ethnographic interview technique, because it allowed the informants to express themselves freely and to explain their actions. There was a somewhat diverse sample of participants ranging from females to males, heterosexuals to homosexuals, and Caucasians to Asians. Certain questions were asked to


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help group their answers into certain categories. The questions were as followed: 1. How did you know your information was accurate? 2. Have you had experiences that influenced your subsequent Internet dating behavior/behavior offline? 3. Are you still the same person as when you started using a profile? Finally, the participants were asked to talk about any other topics that they wanted to address. After the interview, the researchers read the transcripts and coded key phrases. Then phrases were compared and contrasted across all interviews in an effort to create categories that represented important themes in the responses. A lot of the findings dealt with how people use the reactions they received from their profile to validate themselves. Regardless if the feedback was online or offline, the individuals still felt a strong reaction from their profiles. First, Yurchisin et al. (2005) found that there seemed to be common themes with how individuals designed their profile. The desire to be honest and truthful was important. However, some admitted to stretching the truth a bit because they would like to posses certain traits in the future that they did not already have. Individuals also might have stretched the truth due to the belief of possible positive feedback. Selfimage was impacted in a positive way when they received positive responses from other users. Yurchisin et al. (2005) concluded that the ability to use Internet dating services in the identity exploration and re-creation process may provide one explanation for the continued popularity of these services in spite of their poor performance in terms of matchmaking and long-term relationship formation. Even though the dating sites get a lot of hits, there is still question about society’s perception of the legitimacy of online romantic relationships.


Lit  Review  4   Traci Anderson wanted to conduct research to find out how non-internet daters

perceive online romantic relationships. For her first hypothesis, Anderson proposed as Internet affinity increases, there will be a more positive perception of online romances. According to Anderson, Internet affinity is defined as the degree to which people feel attached to the Internet and the sense of importance they grant this form of media. Her second hypothesis focused on perceived realism of the Internet having a positive influence of perceptions of online romances. Finally, Anderson’s research question consisted of finding out if there is a relationship between romantic beliefs and perceptions of online romantic relationships. In order to find her results, Anderson had to conduct certain methods. Anderson (2005) had students complete a survey which she then used their answers to base her results. The surveys contained a combination of demographic items, interval scales, and open-ended questions. All the interval scales were measured on a seven-point scale to allow for greater variability. Certain categories were measured with different scales. Internet affinity used an adapted version of the five-item, Likert-type Television Affinity Scale. Perceived realism of the Internet was measured using an adapted version of the television-oriented Perceived Realism scale. The Sprecher and Metts Romantic Beliefs Scale was used to figure out the romantic beliefs results. To figure out perceptions of online romantic relationships, Anderson took the average composite score of a three-item measure designed to assess participants’ negative-topositive attitudes toward romantic relationships formed and maintained on-line. Finally, running Pearson’s product-moment correlations tested both the hypotheses and research question. The results that came from the methods were quite interesting.


Lit  Review  5   For the most part, Anderson (2005) predicted the right outcomes, but not all

hypotheses appeared to be supported. For her first hypothesis, Anderson found a positive relationship between Internet affinity and perception of online romantic relationships. Hypothesis number two was not highly supported dealing with the relationship between perceived realism of the Internet and perception of online romantic relationships. Lastly, a negative relationship was found between romantic beliefs and perception of online relationships. In every study there will always be limitations that could potentially help open up another door to research in the communication field. One limitation stated by Anderson (2005) sparked an interest in my brain. A broader, more representative sample needs to be obtained for future research on issues such as socio-economic and demographic factors. Some factors to think about including would be sexual orientation, educational status, age and ethnicity which may all influence romantic beliefs. Anderson helped her audience see that there is still a negative outlook on the perception of online romantic relationships. A year later Traci Anderson teamed up with Tara Emmers-Sommer to look at the influence certain subjects may have on relationship satisfaction on the dating websites. Anderson and Emmers-Sommer (2006) came up with six factors that could influence relationship satisfaction. In the first research question, they ask to what degree does similarity, commitment, intimacy, trust, attributional confidence, and communication satisfaction predict relationship satisfaction in online romantic relationships? For the second research question the researchers ask whether those six factors differ depending on relationship length. Looking at those six factors a lot of measuring went on in the methods.


Lit  Review  6   Anderson and Emmers-Sommer (2006) conducted their experiment using a web-

based survey. They went into online chat rooms that focused on online friendships, relationships, and long-distance relationships. The Measure of Perceived Homophily was used to look at similarity. An eight item, seven-point semantic differential scale assessed attitude and background homophily. Commitment was measured using the eight sevenpoint, Likert scale items adapted from Rusbult’s tests of her investment model. Miller’s Social Intimacy Scale assessed feelings of intimacy. Trust was looked at by using the Dyadic Trust Scale. CL7 measured how much individuals could ascribe with confidence different situations in their online relationships. Attributional confidence used CL7. Communication and Relationship satisfaction were the last two measurements. A shortened version of Hecht’s seven-point Likert-type scale was used for Communication satisfaction. Relationships satisfactions borrowed a version of Norton’s Quality Marriage Index. With all of those measurements the researchers were eager to see the results of the experiment. Since there were six factors being measured, Anderson and Emmers-Sommer (2006) had multiple findings. Intimacy, trust, and communication satisfaction significantly predicted online relationship satisfaction. Trust and intimacy are linked closely. Communication satisfaction positively correlated with, and predictive of, face-toface relationship satisfaction. Time also contributed positively with communication satisfaction with their partners. Amount of communication time had a greater impact on peoples’ thoughts about their relationships than did the length of a relationship. Finally, intimacy, trust, and attributional confidence may be greater for those in longer


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relationships because of the issue of self-disclosure. After all of the information was gathered, a limitation that stands out is mentioned in the following. Anderson and Emmers-Sommer (2006) only used a one cross-sectional design, and did not have a comparison group. They mentioned it is worthwhile to explore the possible perception differences between computer-mediated-communication and face-toface. As the old saying goes, “perception is reality.” Kim, Kwon, and Lee were curious on how the effect of self- esteem, involvement, and sociability based on the use of Internet dating services. There are two hypotheses’ and one research question that the researchers wanted to base their research on. Hypothesis one states that when romantic relationships are important, people with high self-esteem will use Internet dating more than people with low self-esteem. When the romantic relationship is not important self-esteem will not be a factor of who uses the site. The second hypothesis renders that the more sociable a person is, the more likely they are to use an online dating service. Finally, the research question asked how much self-esteem, sociability, and involvement in romantic relationships will play a role in who actively participates in an online dating service. For the experiment, the researchers used four main measurements in the method. The four measurements of the experiment were self-esteem, romantic relationships, sociability, and use of online dating. Kim et al. (2009) measured selfesteem by using an averaged composite score for responses to the five statements, which conceptually reflected Rosenberg’s self-esteem measure. Responses ranged from definitely disagree to definitely agree. To measure involvement in romantic relationships the researchers measured using three items ranging from definitely disagree to definitely


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agree. Sociability was operationalized as the degree to which people engage in various social activities and was measured by an averaged composite score of responses to four items. Finally the use of Internet dating services was the dependent variable, and measured by responses to the following statement: ‘‘used a dating service on the Internet.’’ The response to this statement was measured on a 7-point scale, ranging from Never in the past year to 52+ times in the past year. After conducting all the research Kim et al. found results that were both positively and negatively correlated with their hypotheses’ and research question. For the first hypothesis question, Kim et al. (2009) found that when romantic relationships were valued, the effect of self-esteem on the use of Internet dating services did not reach significance. An interesting and unexpected pattern, however, was found for those who are less involved in romantic relationships. When romantic relationships were considered less important, people with low self-esteem showed a more frequent use of Internet dating services than did those with high self-esteem. The result correlated negatively with hypothesis one. Results on the second hypothesis correlated highly. People who participated in more social activities appeared to use Internet dating services more frequently than did those who participated less in social activities. Lastly, for the research question the leaders found that among highly sociable people, those with high self-esteem appeared to use Internet dating services more often than did those with low self-esteem when romantic relationships were perceived to be important. When romantic relationships were not important, however, individuals with low self-esteem were more likely to use Internet dating services than were those with high self -esteem. This study was one of the few that led people to research more about how personality coincides with


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online dating. A main part of running a successful online dating service is finding out what attracts clientele to the site. Jessica Sautter, Rebecca Tippett, and Philip Morgan were curious about what sociodemographics have an impact on Internet and non-Internet users to partake in dating websites. Sautter et al. (2010) had two main focus questions for this study. They wanted to examine the role of computer literacy, social networks, and attitudes toward Internet dating. As well as wanting to identify certain sociodemographic correlates for who uses online dating sites. Those sociodemographic variables were gender, race, age, education, income, and religion. Various measurements were done in the methods part of the experiment. Sautter et al. (2010) first used data from a 2005 national telephone survey conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey looked at how the Internet plays a role in the family, community, and public lives of individuals. Then they reported descriptive stats on all of the Internet users. Finally, chi-square tests were made to show the differences between groups. After this complicated process results were soon to follow. Results found by Sautter et al. (2010) helped the researchers figure out how certain variables effect the use of online dating. For one of the first variables tested, socioeconomic status did not have an impact on who used the Internet. Knowledge of how to use the computer had a positive correlation with online dating users. Some of the other variables that resulted in a positive online dating websites were: makes, having a high school education and higher, and living in a nice community. Older adults and black individuals are less likely to use the Internet altogether compared to younger adults and


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white individuals. Finally, the results showed that social, economic, and demographic variables are associated with people more or less likely to use dating websites. The lack of longitudinal data was a limitation for Sautter et al. (2010). They suggest that longitudinal data would allow others to see how Internet-facilitated relationships differ from face-to face. Some ways it might differ would be in satisfaction, matching with people with personalities similar to the individual, and the length of the relationship. Future information on how certain personality factors affect the use of Internet dating will be helpful to dating websites to determine the target audience they want to reach, how to make the matches have longevity and appear as credible sources.

 

 


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References       Anderson,  T.  (2005).  Relationships  among  Internet  Attitudes,  Internet  Use,                                Romantic  Beliefs,  and  Perceptions  of  Oniline  Romantic  Relationships.                                                            CyberPsychology  &  Behavior  ,  521-­‐531.   Anderson,  T.,  &  Emmers-­‐Sommer,  T.  (2006).  Predictors  of  Relationship  Satisfaction                              in  Online  Romantic  Relationships.  Communication  Studies  ,  153-­‐172.   Kim,  M.,  Kwon,  K.-­‐N.,  &  Lee,  M.  (2009).  Psychological  Characteristics  of  Internet                                Dating  Service  Users:  The  Effect  of  Self-­‐Esteem,  Involvement,  and  Sociability                                on  the  Use  of  Internet  Dating  Services.  Cyber  Psychology  &  Behavior  ,  445-­‐                                449.   Sautter,  J.,  Tippett,  R.,  &  Morgan,  P.  (2010).  The  Socail  Demography  of  Internet                                  Dating  in  the  United  States.  Social  Science  Quarterly  ,  554-­‐575.   Yurchisin,  J.,  Watchravesringkan,  K.,  &  McCabe,  D.  (2005).  An  Exploration  of  Identity                                    Re-­‐Creation  in  the  Context  of  Internet  Dating.  Social  Behavior  and                                    Personality  ,  735-­‐750.    


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