chapter  23
Relational Turbulence Theory
Understanding Family Communication During Times of Change
ByLeanne K. Knobloch, Denise Haunani Solomon, Jennifer A. Theiss, Rachel M. McLaren
Pages 12

This chapter explicates relational turbulence theory, outlining the historical evolution of the theory. It summarizes the theory's fundamental assumptions, describes how the theory characterizes communication, and provides a flavor of the research undergirding the theory. Relational turbulence theory begins with the assumption that changes in the relational environment spark relational uncertainty and disrupt interdependence processes. Interpersonal communication plays multiple roles within relational turbulence theory. The theory explains how relational turbulence as a relationship quality can, through its effect on cognitive construal level and dyadic synchrony, infuse all communication between individuals. The chapter considers each of these ways communication is embodied in relational turbulence theory, along with illustrations from example of a family relocating for Mom's promotion. Relational turbulence theory also conceptualizes communication as a phenomenon that varies in engagement and valence as part of a person's response to a specific episode.