New York, July 24 (IANS) Your attachment style — how avoidant or anxious you are in a close relationship in real life — also applies on social media platforms like Facebook, researchers reveal.
“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, who headed the research.
The findings showed that you can predict the structure of people’s social networks and the way people manage their networks from their personality.
The researchers also looked at how people manage their networks, including how they initiate, maintain and dissolve ties.
They found that people high on attachment avoidance were less likely to initiate and maintain, and more likely to dissolve social network ties.
“Surprisingly, people high on anxiety were expected to be less likely to dissolve ties — they’re 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 said that due to their high levels of concern and desire to merge with others, anxiously attached people may end up pushing members away.
“Network members may feel smothered and dissolve the ties,” he said in a paper that appeared in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
The paper, by Gillath and co-authors Gery Karantzas of Deakin University in Australia and Emre Selcuk of Middle East Technical University in Turkey, described four separate studies that lend insight into the interplay between attachment style and how people manage and perceive friendship networks.
Participants in the studies first were benchmarked for attachment style, then evaluated for the “tie strength” and “multiplexity” of their friendship networks.
Another interesting finding has to do with the size of a person’s social network.
“We found that the more friends you have in your network, the lower your tie strength and multiplexity — size dilutes the quality of your networks ties,” Gillath said.
These findings suggest that attachment security leads to better management and more beneficial outcomes people could gain from their social networks.