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Argumentativeness and verbal aggressiveness: Type of argument as a situational constraint
Unformatted Document Text:  Argumentativeness 13 Personal issue arguments are arguably more involving because of their direct influence on behavior. In this study, neither of these predictions was supported by the data. In addition, argument behavior in personal issue arguments is especially important to interpersonal relationships. Rancer and Infante (1985) claim that if individuals engage in argumentative behavior during their arguments, better solutions can be reached. Also, they claim that by encouraging argumentativeness skill, one may decrease verbal aggressiveness within interpersonal relationships. Personal issue arguments have more implications for the day-to-day interaction within the relationship (Newell & Stutman, 1988), and are more likely to have an effect on relational satisfaction (Villagran et al., 2001). Therefore, this study illustrates that individuals are not utilizing argument behavior as frequently in the very arguments that it is most important to discover a solution. For public issue arguments, individuals can just “agree to disagree” (Author & Hall, 2001; Newell & Stutman, 1988). In regards to verbal aggressiveness, this study did not show an overall significant difference between type of argument. However, this lack of overall difference obscured evidence of a difference based on gender. For males (who were higher in reported verbally aggressive behavior in general), reported behavior did not differ based on type of argument. This was not the case for the women, who reported significantly greater amounts of verbally aggressive behavior in the personal issue argument condition. This supports the prediction by Infante, et al. (1984) that women are more affected by situational constraints than men. As verbally aggressive behavior is perceived as destructive, this may explain partially why personal issue arguments are perceived as more likely to lead to lower relationship satisfaction (Villagran, et al. 2001). In addition, perhaps the potentially greater emotion in personal issue arguments may lead to the disintegration of rational debate based on issues to an attack on each other’s self concept.

Authors: Johnson, Amy.
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Argumentativeness 13
Personal issue arguments are arguably more involving because of their direct influence on
behavior. In this study, neither of these predictions was supported by the data.
In addition, argument behavior in personal issue arguments is especially important to
interpersonal relationships. Rancer and Infante (1985) claim that if individuals engage in
argumentative behavior during their arguments, better solutions can be reached. Also, they claim
that by encouraging argumentativeness skill, one may decrease verbal aggressiveness within
interpersonal relationships. Personal issue arguments have more implications for the day-to-day
interaction within the relationship (Newell & Stutman, 1988), and are more likely to have an
effect on relational satisfaction (Villagran et al., 2001). Therefore, this study illustrates that
individuals are not utilizing argument behavior as frequently in the very arguments that it is most
important to discover a solution. For public issue arguments, individuals can just “agree to
disagree” (Author & Hall, 2001; Newell & Stutman, 1988).
In regards to verbal aggressiveness, this study did not show an overall significant
difference between type of argument. However, this lack of overall difference obscured evidence
of a difference based on gender. For males (who were higher in reported verbally aggressive
behavior in general), reported behavior did not differ based on type of argument. This was not
the case for the women, who reported significantly greater amounts of verbally aggressive
behavior in the personal issue argument condition. This supports the prediction by Infante, et al.
(1984) that women are more affected by situational constraints than men. As verbally aggressive
behavior is perceived as destructive, this may explain partially why personal issue arguments are
perceived as more likely to lead to lower relationship satisfaction (Villagran, et al. 2001). In
addition, perhaps the potentially greater emotion in personal issue arguments may lead to the
disintegration of rational debate based on issues to an attack on each other’s self concept.


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