Your 'attachment style' may also apply to Facebook: study

Your 'attachment style' may also apply to Facebook: study

Your 'attachment style' may also apply to Facebook: study
Your attachment style - how avoidant or anxious you are in a close relationship - may also apply to how you perceive and manage social networks such as Facebook, a research suggests.

"Attachment style, thought to play a central role in romantic and parent-child relationships, was found to also play a role in people's broader social network of friends," said Omri Gillath, professor of psychology at the University of Kansas in the US.

Researchers found that one can predict the structure of people's social networks and the way people manage their networks from their personality.

Attachment theory describes how people are creating bonds in their lives. Attachment style is basically a relationship style, researchers said.

It is the way we think, feel and behave in our close relationships. It is known to affect relationship processes and emotion regulation, they said.

Researchers looked into four separate studies, the participants in the studies were first benchmarked for attachment style, then evaluated for the "tie strength" and "multiplexity" of their friendship networks.

"'Tie strength' is how close the ties in your networks are - we asked people to report this in different ways. While 'multiplexity' is how many roles are filled or functions are served by network members," Gillath said.

Researchers found people high on attachment anxiety or avoidance had weaker tie strength and people high on avoidance reported lower multiplexity.
The team also looked at how people manage their networks, including how they initiate, maintain and dissolve ties.
"For some people, it is very easy to, for example, start new relationships, and maintain - or stay in touch - with existing ties. For others, it might be much harder, or less likely to happen," Gillath said.

Researchers noted that attachment style also predicted these tendencies. For example, people high on attachment avoidance were less likely to initiate and maintain, and more likely to dissolve network ties.

"Surprisingly, people high on anxiety were expected to be less likely to dissolve ties - they are often concerned about being rejected or abandoned and want to merge with their relationship partners, which made us think they would be less likely to dissolve ties," Gillath said.

"However, they were found to report higher tendency for dissolution than non anxious people," Gillath added.

The high levels of concern and desire to merge with others, anxiously attached people may end up pushing members away, researchers said.

In other words anxious people reported that other network members are dissolving ties with them, whereas avoidants reported on dissolving ties with others. Either way, insecure people were higher on tie dissolution than secure people.

Researchers also found that the more friends in the network, the lower the tie strength and multiplexity.

"Size dilutes the quality of your networks ties," Gillath said.

The study was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
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