Sharing a social identity is a key component of interdependence in romantic relationships. In particular, sharing a social network of friends and family members with a romantic partner enhances relationship quality, but maintaining an integrated social network is not always possible. When people lack a shared circle of friends with their partners, sharing media like TV shows, books, and movies with partners may compensate for this deficit and restore closeness. Two studies examined the influence of sharing real and fictional social worlds on relationship outcomes. Our findings showed that when people lack shared friends with their romantic partners, sharing media predicts greater relationship quality and people become motivated to share media with their partners. These studies show that shared media can enhance interdependence and allow people to compensate for lacking a shared social network in the real world.
Bibliographical noteThe authors would like to thank Justin Friesen for his assistance with piloting as well as the undergraduate research assistants who assisted with data collection.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by a National Science Foundation grant (BCS- 1143747).
- close relationships
- relationship quality
- social networks