The Chilling Effect Of Aggressive Potential On The Expression Of Complaints In Intimate Relationships

Denise Haunani Solomon, Michael E. Roloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

114 Scopus citations


This study examined relationships between a partner's aggressive potential and the expression of complaints about that partner's controlling behaviors. A two-part survey of 160 college students involved in dating relationships solicited information about relational dependence, unexpressed complaints, and a partner's potential for aggression. As expected, anticipating aggressive repercussions was associated with withholding complaints about controlling behaviors (p <.01), but was not correlated with other types of unexpressed grievances. This chilling effect was greater when individuals who generally feared conflict anticipated aggressive repercussions (p <.001), and when people anticipated symbolic aggression from relationally independent partners (p <.05). An individual's own relational dependence also influenced the magnitude of this chilling effect (p <.05). The implications of these findings for the management of relational difficulties and interpersonal aggression are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-219
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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