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Attributions and Outcomes: Hurtful Communication in Families
Unformatted Document Text:  Attributions and Outcomes 1 Abstract If people are typically hurt by the ones they love, then families provide a unique and relatively unexamined context for hurtful communication. From a communication perspective, a critical concern is how people respond when they are hurt. One factor that may impact how people react is their level of relational satisfaction. Additionally, the perceived intent underlying hurt-evoking comments can shape recipients’ communicative responses. This study investigated whether senders and receivers perceive hurtful communication differently with regard to intentionality and relational satisfaction, and how attributions of intentionality and perceptions of relational satisfaction affect recipients’ communicative responses to those messages. Although no differences between senders and receivers were revealed for perceived intentionality or relational satisfaction, these factors did impact how people responded to hurtful communication in their families. When comments were perceived as intentionally hurtful, people had a tendency to respond to negative communication with more negative communication. In contrast, hurt- evoking comments that were viewed as unintentional were met with productive/integrative communication. Likewise, relational satisfaction influenced communicative responses, such that dissatisfied individuals responded with negative communication; whereas satisfied individuals were more likely to calmly discuss their feelings. The findings of the current project shed light on how families interpret and grapple with hurtful communication.

Authors: Young, Stacy., Kubicka, Tara., Tucker, Caralyn., McCoy, Jamie., Kanaan, Kanaan., Johnson, Jarvis., Chavez-Appel, Desi. and Dinger, Michelle.
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Attributions and Outcomes
1
Abstract
If people are typically hurt by the ones they love, then families provide a unique and relatively
unexamined context for hurtful communication. From a communication perspective, a critical
concern is how people respond when they are hurt. One factor that may impact how people react
is their level of relational satisfaction. Additionally, the perceived intent underlying hurt-evoking
comments can shape recipients’ communicative responses. This study investigated whether
senders and receivers perceive hurtful communication differently with regard to intentionality
and relational satisfaction, and how attributions of intentionality and perceptions of relational
satisfaction affect recipients’ communicative responses to those messages. Although no
differences between senders and receivers were revealed for perceived intentionality or relational
satisfaction, these factors did impact how people responded to hurtful communication in their
families. When comments were perceived as intentionally hurtful, people had a tendency to
respond to negative communication with more negative communication. In contrast, hurt-
evoking comments that were viewed as unintentional were met with productive/integrative
communication. Likewise, relational satisfaction influenced communicative responses, such that
dissatisfied individuals responded with negative communication; whereas satisfied individuals
were more likely to calmly discuss their feelings. The findings of the current project shed light
on how families interpret and grapple with hurtful communication.


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