Guided by the appraisal theory of emotion, this paper examines how various emotions shape communication strategies within romantic relationships. Events that changed people's relational uncertainty levels provide the context for the investigation. Participants in dating relationships (N = 141) described their experience of relational certainty and uncertainty increasing events. Relational certainty increases coincided with relatively high levels of happiness, and relational uncertainty increases corresponded with heightened degrees of anger and sadness. Integrative behaviors were a frequently reported response to both kinds of events. Consistent with appraisal theory, specific emotions were associated with particular strategies; however, some effects were moderated by the type of event. The discussion highlights the utility of appraisal theory for understanding how romantic partners manage fluctuations in relational uncertainty.
- Appraisal theory
ASJC Scopus subject areas