A model of relational turbulence: The role of intimacy, relational uncertainty, and interference from partners in appraisals of irritations

Denise Haunani Solomon, Leanne K. Knobloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

156 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The development of romantic relationships is a complex process by which previously autonomous individuals come to perceive themselves as a social unit. We propose that the transition from casual dating to serious involvement coincides with relational turbulence in courtship, and we identify relational uncertainty and interference from partners as mechanisms that may explain why this turmoil occurs. We test our model by examining people's appraisals of irritating circumstances as a marker of relational turbulence. We conducted a cross-sectional study in which individuals evaluated the degree of severity and relationship threat of potential irritations that had occurred recently in their dating relationship. Although the effect size was small, results consistent with our predictions indicated that negative appraisals were curvilinearly associated with intimacy. Also as anticipated, we documented positive associations between negative appraisals and both relational uncertainty and interference from partners. Contrary to our expectations, however, neither relational uncertainty nor interference from partners mediated the curvilinear trajectory between negative appraisals and intimacy. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding relational turbulence in dating relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-816
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004

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intimacy
Uncertainty
interference
Turbulence
uncertainty
Courtship
cross-sectional study
Cross-Sectional Studies
Trajectories
threat

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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