Research examining the role of goals in message production has identified ways communicative goals can be characterized. The authors conducted 2 studies investigating how characteristics of goals influence linguistic features in responses to problematic events in close relationships. We posited that 5 features of goals would be associated with message focus and embellishment. In Study 1, respondents recalled a problematic event in a close relationship, the conversation they had with that partner after the event, and the reasons why they offered the recalled response. Participants then answered questions about the event. In Study 2, they presented participants with hypothetical problems and asked them to role-play leaving a telephone message for their partners about the event. The results indicated that goal challenge, intensity, and complexity were positively associated with message embellishment. Focal center was predicted by a respondent's primary message goal. They discuss implications for understanding facets of communication goals and the nature of problematic events in close relationships.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language