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This study tested the partner idealization component of the hyperpersonal perspective, and extended this perspective to the study of an ongoing relationship – college students and their parents. We proposed a model to encompass the cognitive and behavioral idealization mechanisms that past research identified as provoking positive relational outcomes. Results indicated that mediated communication frequency was positively related to both idealization and relational quality, and that idealization partially mediated the statistical relationship between mediated communication frequency and relational quality. Face-to-face communication frequency was inversely related to one indicator of idealization (positive affect thinking), but was not directly related to relational quality. That said, indirect effects were detected, such that face-to-face communication frequency was negatively and indirectly related to relational quality as a function of positive affect thinking. These results were interpreted using concepts from interpersonal, family, and computer-mediated communication, and research future directions were discussed.


Communication Institute for Online Scholarship

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The Electronic Journal of Communication