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Title:The Structure of Trouble -Talk in Conversations Among Close Relational Partners
Author(s):McDermott, Virginia M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Daena J. Goldsmith
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Speech Communication
Abstract:The purpose of this project was to examine how close relational partners talked about problems and to assess if how they managed the conversation, independent of what was said, influenced the trouble-talker's perceptions of the interaction, partner, and conversation. Sixty-four conversations (approximately 20-minutes long) were recorded, transcribed, unitized, and coded for the proportion of a conversation devoted to trouble-talk, the number of independent thoughts a trouble-talker produced in trouble-talk, the trouble-recipient's use of back-channels, the trouble-talker's frequency of interruptions, and how the episode of trouble-talk was exited. Results indicated that the structure of the conversation was significantly associated with trouble-talkers' perceptions of the conversation, but unrelated to their perceptions of the interaction or partner. Specifically, trouble-talkers' perceived the conversation as more valuable and as having a greater effect on their attitudes, thinking, feelings, behavior, relationship and attraction towards partner when (a) they expressed a high number of independent thoughts, (b) more than 50% of the conversation was focused on their troubles, and (c) the trouble-recipients frequently provided vocal back-channel cues. Trouble-talkers' also perceived those conversations in which trouble-recipients interrupted (primarily to agree or clarify a point) as more valuable to them currently and in the future. Finally, in those conversations in which the trouble-talk topic was switched to a new topic, if the new topic was focused on an issue of concern to the trouble-talkers, they perceived their partners as expressing more liking and being more attentive than when the new topic was not focused on an issue of interest to the trouble-talker. The results of this study were discussed in terms of the implications for research on relationship maintenance, social support, and talk about problems.
Issue Date:2004
Description:232 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3153378
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2004

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