What does this Mean?: Understanding how Women make Meaning of Text Messages while Developing an Intimate Relationship

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Virginia Tech

This qualitative study explores how women in emerging adulthood make meaning of text messaging while developing an intimate heterosexual relationship. A focus group consisting of eight women was used in order to understand the way women interpret text messages during the formation of a romantic relationship. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Four themes emerged from the data: (1) what is the landscape?, (2) how do I figure it out?, (3) red flags, and (4) a red flag means. Participants described the context in which they enter relationships, and the role texting plays. Different strategies they used to make meaning of ambiguous text messages were discussed. Participants reported behaviors that were identified as red flags and how participants made meaning of those red flags Limitations, clinical implications, and future directions are identified and discussed.

Texting, Women, Emerging Adulthood, Forming Relationships