Relationship Initiation on Facebook: Understanding the Role of Personality



Facebook, Big Five, Relationship Initiation, Cybernetic Big Five Theory


Studies have shown that some individuals use Facebook to initiate romantic relationships, but few have investigated the motivations for using Facebook to form relationships. As discussed via the Cybernetic Big Five Theory, a potential explanation may be personality, which is associated with general social media use. The current study examines the association between the Big Five personality traits and motivations to initiate romantic relationships using Facebook. Data comes from 177 undergraduate students from two universities in the United States who completed an online survey assessing the Big Five and motivations to and behaviors for which they use Facebook for relationship initiation. Using multiple regression analyses, conscientiousness and neuroticism predicted motivations to initiate relationships via Facebook to learn more about a potential partner without asking, to provide a neutral environment to start a conversation, to pace the progress of the relationship, and to give more control over the interaction. Openness was inconsistently positively associated with initiation motivations whereas extraversion and agreeableness were not associated with motivations to use Facebook for relationship initiation. Findings indicate that personality may explain why some individuals use Facebook to form romantic relationships.

Author Biography

Gwendolyn Seidman, Albright College

Department of Psychology, Albright College, Reading, PA, 19604


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