chapter  16
19 Pages

Relationships, Marriage, and Family Communication

As Chapter 10 has shown, the scientific study of interpersonal communication and interpersonal relationships has a long and intertwined history (see Chapter 10). Arguably, the main focus of interpersonal communication theorizing and research at its inception has been on the development of close personal relationships. Theories such as social penetration theory (Altman & Taylor, 1973), uncertainty reduction theory (Berger & Calabrese, 1975), and the stage model of relationship development (Knapp, 1984) explicated the types of communication that take place when persons get to know each other and move toward ever-greater intimacy in their relationships. Some of these early theories proposed novel explanatory mechanisms, whereas others employed already established theories from psy chology and related fields. An example of the former is uncertainty reduction theory, which proposed that individuals are intrinsically motivated to reduce uncer tainty in interpersonal relationships. An example of the latter is social penetration theory, which used social exchange theory to explain why people self-disclose.