This study explored the role of decision-making power in withholding communicating about relational complaints. A total of 350 participants (nested in 175 couples) completed surveys about the balance of decision-making power in their relationship, complaint avoidance, and complaint-related appraisals. Decision-making power had a curvilinear association with avoidance, such that individuals engaged in the least complaint avoidance when they were relatively equal to their partners in power. For complaint-related appraisals, problems were perceived as least severe, and outcome expectancies and communication efficacy assessments were most positive, when power was equal. Furthermore, severity appraisals and outcome expectancies mediated the curvilinear association of power with complaint avoidance. Results provided support for Dyadic Power Theory outside of laboratory contexts, and highlight cognitive mechanisms through which decision-making power may influence communication in close relationships.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language