"We never talk about that": A comparison of cross-sex friendships and dating relationships on uncertainty and topic avoidance

Walid A. Afifi, Judee K. Burgoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

130 Scopus citations

Abstract

Uncertainty Reduction Theory (URT) proposes that individuals have a need to reduce uncertainty and that elevated levels of uncertainty are associated with relational dissatisfaction. Research on cross-sex friendships suggests that these relationships may be characterized by elevated levels of uncertainty and topic avoidance. This investigation addresses the role of uncertainty as a theoretical construct that may be useful for explaining behavior in cross-sex friendships. Specifically, we address the relationship between uncertainty and topic avoidance, and compare cross-sex friendships and dating relationships on these variables. The results significantly extend past research on cross-sex friendships and suggest that uncertainty may often be tolerated in cases where the expected information is undesirable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-272
Number of pages18
JournalPersonal Relationships
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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