Ambiguous Divorce-Related Communication, Relational Closeness, Relational Satisfaction, and Communication Satisfaction

Tara G. McManus, Jon Nussbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Using Communication Privacy Management theory, the study argues parents' ambiguity during divorce-related stressor conversations influence parents' and young adult children's relational closeness, satisfaction, and communication satisfaction. Thirty-nine parent-young adult child dyads discussed a divorce-related stressor and reported their thoughts. Hierarchical regression models indicated children's perceptions of parents' ambiguity predicted lower communication satisfaction; however, parents' use of ambiguity was unrelated to relational closeness, satisfaction, or communication satisfaction. Tolerance for ambiguity did not moderate the relationships. Results suggest that offspring may not want detailed information; perceiving parents to use minimal ambiguity may contribute to lower communication satisfaction after discussing divorce-related stressors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-522
Number of pages23
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2011


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