Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Long distance relationship, mediated communication, relationship maitenance, emotinal support, emotional expression

Major Advisor

Dr. C. Arthur VanLear

Associate Advisor

Dr. Ross Buck

Associate Advisor

Dr. David Atkin

Field of Study

Communication Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Due to prevalence of long distance relationship and popularity of computer use in relationship maintenance, the current study was interested in exploring how college students may make better use of the email messages to communicate their emotions and support to their long distance romantic relationship partners. Participants (N=143) were requested to submit 2 emails sent to their long distance partner and complete a relational information questionnaire. Through the detailed analysis of the email messages, the current study found out that the uses of emotional words and person centered supportive messages play important roles in maintaining long distance relationships. In particular, the regression analysis results suggested that positive emotional words and negative words have different impacts on the various emotional and relational outcome variables. The implications of the findings for maintaining long distance relationships were also discussed.