A fundamental premise of much interpersonal communication scholarship is that communicators’ goals may change during the course of interaction. Yet, the implications of these changes remain underexplored. This study examines the associations between goal variability and perceived resolvability of serial arguments. Seventy-five heterosexual romantic couples discussed a current serial argument and reported their interaction goals at 1-minute intervals, using a video-recall method. Within-interaction variability in self-focused and relational goals had positive curvilinear (i.e., U-shaped) associations with at least one partner’s perceptions of perceived resolvability in each model tested. This study demonstrates the potential for goal variability to shape global interaction outcomes in the context of relational conflict.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language