Always Available,Always Attached: A Relational Perspective on the Effects of Mobile Phones and Social Media on Subjective Well-Being

The always-on, always-available nature of digital life means almost constant connection and availability between romantic partners, family members, and close friends. Being tethered to one another can give people a sense of security, while simultaneously causing more stress. In this article, we fifind that keeping a romantic partner constantly within a (digital) arm’s reach promotes better well-being for oneself. In addition, keeping a romantic partner always available also predicted better well-being for the romantic partner. Further, the analysis did not show added stress for the partner.

  1. Research Background
  2. Theoretical Research
  3. Experimental Method
  4. Experimental procedure description
  5. Results Study and Discussion

Research Background

With the development of technology in the Internet , the Internet has deeply influenced all aspects of social life. Digital media are constantly changing the conditions of human interaction, and people are deepening their use of mobile Internet and relying on cell phone terminals. In intimate relationships, people are gradually moving from offline to online. From face-to-face communication as the main medium to communication through multimedia, how the use of mobile Internet is related to intimate relationships and their satisfaction, and what factors influence the creation and maintenance of such intimate relationships are of concern to society today.

Theoretical Research

Media multiplexity is the totality of communication across a dyad’s media ecosystem, and the construct can be described by several subdimensions. Number of media—the sum of communication channels used within a dyad for communication. Multimedia frequency—the total frequency of a dyad’s communication across all media. And Multimedia disclosure—the aggregated amount of intimate self-disclosure to a partner across all media.The perception of continuous and constant communication access to an attachment figure and the expectation they can provide security, regardless of location, time of day, or current activity, as connected availability,It is the ability to easily achieve communication. To unpack dyadic connected availability, we turn to the Actor–Partner Interdependence Model(APIM). APIM is a dyadic data analysis method that presents a way of modeling how a dependent variable, such as SWB, is affected by a person and their partner. APIM is comprised of actor effects and partner effects. An actor effect refers to the effect of a person’s independent variable on their own dependent variable.A partner effect models how a person’s independent variable is associated with their partner’s reported dependent variable.

Experimental Method

This experiment use a method called experience sampling measures.It is a method of collecting instantaneous assessments of events people experience in their lives over a relatively short period of time multiple times and recording them. It uses repeated sampling to collect information that is susceptible to change over time and individual factors. Its most important feature is that it collects individual instantaneous responses at multiple points in time.

Experimental Procedure Description

One hundred fourteen romantic couples in long-term relationships were recruited to participate in this study, Surveys arrived via text message for 7 consecutive days five times per day. Surveys arrived at random within five equal time windows. The dimensions of SWB, positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction, were measured on a 10- point scale. They are also asked about the amount of multimedia used, how often it is used, what is shared (disclosure), and whether it is easy to reach a partner through multimedia (accessibility). Connected availability was measured using three questions capturing the idea that the participant could connect with their partner at any moment in time, regardless of time or location, and their partner could answer.

Results Study and Discussion

 The H1 is Actor (a) number of media, (b) multimedia frequency, (c) multimedia disclosure, and (d)accessibility is positively associated with actor connected availability. H3: Actor (a) number of media, (b) multimedia frequency, (c) multimedia disclosure, and (d)accessibility is positively associated with their partner’s connected availability.From number of media perspective, Lower availability without media connections compared to using multiple media, Supporting H1a. When a person reported communication on 1–3 media in the last hour, their partner reported greater connected availability, supporting H3a. From Multimedia communication perspective, when a person reported greater communication across media with their partner in the last hour, they felt a higher degree of connected availability throughout the day,supportinf H1b. Higher amounts of the multimedia frequency also predicted greater connected availability in their partner,supporting H3b. when a participant reported high accessibility from the media landscape, their connected availability that day was higher.,supporting H1d. Actor accessibility shared a positive association with connected availability, but there was no significant partner effect for accessibility, H3d can not be identified. While H1c and H3c showed in the test, Greater disclosure across all media predicted more negative affect that day, but it was not mediated through connected availability since multimedia disclosure was not associated with connected availability.

  • R1:Actor (a) number of media, (b) multimedia frequency, (d)accessibility is positively associated with actor connected availability.
  • R3: Actor (a) number of media, (b) multimedia frequency is positively associated with their partner’s connected availability.

The H2 is Actor connected availability is (a) positively associated with actor positive affect, (b) negatively associated with actor negative affect, and (c) positively associated with actor life satisfaction.H4: Actor connected availability is (a) negatively associated with their partner’s positive affect, (b) positively associated with their partner’s negative affect, and (c) negatively associated with their partner’s life satisfaction.H5 is Media multiplexity has an indirect effect on SWB through connected availability.From number of media perspective. when a person reported greater connected availability, they also reported high positive affect across a given day, supporting H2a.In contrast to H4a, when a participant (actor) reported more connected availability, their partner reported higher daily positive affect.TestingH5, indirect effects for multimedia frequency were as follows: (a) actor–actor and (b) partner–actor.These indirect effects indicate that life satisfaction is associated with multimedia frequency through both actor connected availability and partner connected availability. From Multimedia communication perspective,Consistent with H2b, actor connected availability had a negative association with negative affect. Life satisfaction was positively related to actor reports of connected availability,supporting H2c, Contrary to H4c.

  • R2: Actor connected availability is (a) positively associated with actor positive affect, (b) negatively associated with actor negative affect, and (c) positively associated with actor life satisfaction.
  • R4:Connection availability did not predict any negative association between media multiplexity and subjective well-being. Rather than being harmful, connection availability predicted improvements in partners’ subjective well-being on a given day.
  • R5: Media multiplexity has an indirect effect on SWB through connected availability.

We discuss the implications of these findings for communication theory and the debate around digital media and well-being. The quick, mundane text message exchange or phone call that occurs in a long-term relationship has a key relationship function. The always on, always available connection was associated with improved well-being, and keeping a romantic partner constantly connected was found to have reciprocal beneficial effects for the partner.



  1. 研究背景
  2. 理论研究
  3. 实验方法
  4. 实验过程阐述
  5. 结果研究及讨论










我们假设H1:行为者的(a)媒体数量(b)多媒体频率(c)多媒体披露(d)可访问性与行为者的连接可用性呈正相关。H3:行为者(a)媒体数量(b)多媒体频率(c)多媒体披露(d)可访问性与其伴侣的连接可用性呈正相关。从多媒体数量的角度来说,与使用多种媒体相比,没有使用媒体预测的连接可用性更低,支持H1a;当一个人在过去一小时内在多个媒体上报告通信时,他们的伴侣报告了更高的连接可用性,支持 H3a。从多媒体通讯的角度来说,当一个人在最后一小时报告与他们的伴侣通过媒体进行了更多的交流时,他们会感受到更高程度的全天连接可用性,支持H1b;更高数量的多媒体频率也预示着他们伴侣的连接可用性更高,支持H3b;当行动者报告媒体环境的高可访问性时,他们当天的连接可用性更高,支持H1d;行动者可访问性与连接可用性呈正相关,但对可访问性没有显着的伴侣效应(H3d无法确定)。而H1c 和 H3c 在测试中显示,所有媒体的更多披露预测当天会产生更多负面影响,但它并没有通过连接可用性调节,因为多媒体披露与连接可用性无关。

  • 结论1:(a)媒体数量(b)多媒体频率(d)可访问性与行为者的连接可用性呈正相关。
  • 结论3:(a)媒体数量(b)多媒体频率与其伴侣的连接可用性呈正相关

我们假设H2:行为者连接可用性(a)与行为者的积极情感正相关(b)与行为者的消极情感负相关(c)与行为者的生活满意度正相关;H4:行为者连接可用性(a)与其伴侣的积极情感呈负相关(b)与其伴侣的负面情感正相关(c)与其伴侣的生活满意度呈负相关;H5:媒体多元化通过连接可用性对 SWB 产生间接影响。从媒体数量来说,行为者连接可用性与积极影响呈正相关,对于伴侣,连接可用性也与积极影响呈正相关,支持 H2a;当行为者报告更多的连接可用性时,他们的伴侣报告更高的每日积极影响。当行动者报告更多的连接可用性时,他们的伴侣报告更高的每日积极影响,与H4a相反;在控制连接可用性之后,这表明所有四种类型的行动者 – 伴侣的间接影响,支持H5,多媒体频率的间接影响如下:(a)行动者-行动者和(b)伴侣-行动者。这些间接影响表明,生活满意度通过行动者连接可用性和伴侣连接可用性与多媒体频率相关;从多媒体通讯的角度来说,行动者连接可用性与负面影响呈负相关,支持H2b;与 H4b 的预测相反,连接可用性的伴侣效应也与负面影响呈负相关;生活满意度与行动者报告的连接可用性报告的连接可用性呈正相关,支持H2c,与H4c相反。

  • 结论2:行为者连接可用性(a)与行为者积极情感正相关(b)与行为者消极情感负相关(c)与行为者生活满意度正相关。
  • 结论4:连接可用性并没有预测媒体多重性和主观幸福感之间的任何负面关联。连接可用性不是有害的,而是预测了伴侣在某一天的主观幸福感的改善。
  • 结论5:媒体多元化通过连接可用性对 SWB 产生间接影响。






Taylor, S. H., & Bazarova, N. N. (2021). Always Available, Always Attached: A Relational Perspective on the Effects of Mobile Phones and Social Media on Subjective Well-Being. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication26(4), 187–206.