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Attributions and Outcomes: Hurtful Communication in Families
Unformatted Document Text:  Attributions and Outcomes 6 Relational Satisfaction Another factor likely to shape the manner in which individuals respond to comments that hurt their feelings is their level of relational satisfaction. For instance, Vangelisti and Crumley (1998) found that relational satisfaction was negatively associated with the degree of hurt experienced in a relationship. Similarly, Cramer (2000) found that individuals who felt they were intentionally hurt reported lower levels of relationship satisfaction than individuals who felt they were hurt by accident. Satisfaction was not related to the incidence of conflict, per se, but to the manner in which conflict was handled and the extent to which it was satisfactorily resolved. Moreover, Vangelisti and Young (2000) found that hurtful messages were typically judged as unintentional by recipients in highly satisfying relationships, suggesting that relational satisfaction may predispose partners to see their partners’ hurtful comments as unintentional. Fincham, Beach, and Baucom (1987) also reported that a couple’s level of marital distress affected spouses’ attributions of each other’s behavior. Distressed spouses made more negative attributions about their partners’ negative behavior and saw the causes of the behavior as more global, more selfishly motivated, and less praiseworthy than satisfied couples did. In short, Fincham et al. (1987) suggested a tendency for satisfied couples to see their partners’ behavior in the best possible light; where as dissatisfied couples saw their partners’ behavior in the worst possible light. Murray, Holmes, and Griffin (1996) found similar results for both dating and married couples. People’s relational satisfaction then impacts how they make sense of their partner’s hurtful communication, and as previously discussed, these attributions in turn influence their communicative responses.

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
6
Relational Satisfaction
Another factor likely to shape the manner in which individuals respond to comments that
hurt their feelings is their level of relational satisfaction. For instance, Vangelisti and Crumley
(1998) found that relational satisfaction was negatively associated with the degree of hurt
experienced in a relationship. Similarly, Cramer (2000) found that individuals who felt they
were intentionally hurt reported lower levels of relationship satisfaction than individuals who felt
they were hurt by accident. Satisfaction was not related to the incidence of conflict, per se, but
to the manner in which conflict was handled and the extent to which it was satisfactorily
resolved. Moreover, Vangelisti and Young (2000) found that hurtful messages were typically
judged as unintentional by recipients in highly satisfying relationships, suggesting that relational
satisfaction may predispose partners to see their partners’ hurtful comments as unintentional.
Fincham, Beach, and Baucom (1987) also reported that a couple’s level of marital distress
affected spouses’ attributions of each other’s behavior. Distressed spouses made more negative
attributions about their partners’ negative behavior and saw the causes of the behavior as more
global, more selfishly motivated, and less praiseworthy than satisfied couples did. In short,
Fincham et al. (1987) suggested a tendency for satisfied couples to see their partners’ behavior in
the best possible light; where as dissatisfied couples saw their partners’ behavior in the worst
possible light. Murray, Holmes, and Griffin (1996) found similar results for both dating and
married couples. People’s relational satisfaction then impacts how they make sense of their
partner’s hurtful communication, and as previously discussed, these attributions in turn influence
their communicative responses.


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