The Use and Consequences of Verbal Influence Strategies During Interpersonal Disagreements

DEBORAH A. NEWTON, Judee K Burgoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Interpersonal influence refers to the strategies and tactics communicators use to establish, reinforce, or alter one another's cognitions, emotions, and behaviors. It is argued that influence functions to attain instrumental goals, manage the relationship, and preserve desired identities. These three functions guided the development of a categorical system for classifying 36 verbal influence tactics according to six major strategy types applicable to the context of resolving disagreements. Videotaped interactions of 50 married couples were coded for strategy use by eight trained raters. The most frequently used strategies were content validation, self‐assertions, and other accusations, whereas content invalidation, self‐defense, and other‐support received far less use. Correlational results between strategy use and consequences revealed that: (a) males were more persuasive when using content validation and self‐assertions and less persuasive when using content invalidation and other‐accusations, (b) females were more persuasive when using other‐support and less persuasive when using content invalidation, and (c) greater communication satisfaction was experienced by both partners when the other used supportive tactics and did not use accusatory ones. Analyses of couples'behavior suggests the predominant interaction pattern was reciprocal rather than compensatory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-518
Number of pages42
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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