Attributions and Outcomes: Hurtful Communication in Families
Unformatted Document Text:
Attributions and Outcomes
use of integrative communication behaviors may help family members cope with emotionally-
laden situations and emerge satisfied.
In short, this project reveals that people’s attributions and perceptions about their
relational quality shape how they respond to challenging interpersonal interactions, such as
instances of hurtful communication in families. Nonetheless, a few limitations should be
considered. First, while our research did take into account both senders and receivers of hurtful
messages, our respondents reported on different hurtful messages. Future research should aim to
tap into both participants’ perspectives of the same hurtful message. Also, it is possible that
asking respondents to reflect back on past hurtful communication situations may have limited the
accuracy of their details. Over time, the exactness of the situation may blur in the minds of those
involved in the interaction. Previous research has demonstrated that cognitive processes, such as
memory recall, can trigger held manifestations of emotions, such as rumination--especially for
those individuals who fall high on the rumination-dissipation scale (Collins & Bell, 1997).
Future researchers might look to incorporate the dissipation-rumination scale (Caprara, 1986;
Collins & Bell, 1997) to gain a better understanding of the differences in how individuals deal
with hurt in families.
Regardless of the limitations, the results of our study shed light on how relational
satisfaction may influence people’s attributions about their family member’s hurtful
communication, and how these attributions in turn shape recipients’ communicative responses.
The way people interpret and respond to perceived transgressions committed by another
individual is important, because negative interactions have more of an impact on recipients’
well-being than positive interpersonal encounters (Rook, 1984). When people’s feelings are hurt
by something their family member said, they may not be able to control their partner’s hurtful