Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services

First Advisor

Kara Wettersten


Social interaction is a core dimension of a fulfilling life. At present, the study of social interaction has focused largely on online social interaction due to the prevalence of this behavior in modern society, and the large impact of this manner of interaction on the psychological health of individuals. In terms of online behavior, both positive and negative effects may be experienced. Better understanding predictors and outcomes of online behavior would thus be a timely and valuable contribution to literature. The present study examined anxious and avoidant attachment style as predictors of social intimacy, levels of both in-person and online intimate disclosure, a negative attitude toward technology, and problematic internet use. It was then examined whether these variables in combination predicted social well-being.

Participants were collected online using Amazon Mechanical Turk. The present sample of 314 participants was restricted to those that are currently young adults, which for the purpose of this study was defined as those individuals aged 18-25. A series of six total hierarchical regressions were conducted. It was found that both anxious and avoidant attachment positively predicted problematic internet use, neither predicted online intimate disclosure, and only avoidant attachment predicted negative attitudes toward technology. While avoidant attachment negatively predicted social intimacy and in-person disclosure, anxious attachment positively predicted both of these. Social well-being was positively predicted by social intimacy and network number and negatively predicted by negative attitudes toward technology, problematic internet use, and online self-disclosure. The present study demonstrated that attachment style has a strong relationship to many variables related to online and in-person behavior.