The third edition of this text maintains its place as a key resource for learning the foundational and emerging theories in the field of interpersonal communication.

With each chapter devoted to a specific theory and authored by experts in that theory, the book gives students and scholars a comprehensive overview of this field. This edition features an expanded discussion of theory development and evaluation, a new section on theories of identity and difference in close relationships, and increased attention to social media.With the theory chapters sharing the same structure, the book ensures consistent coverage of topics within each theory.

This book is an essential text for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in interpersonal communication and is a valued resource for scholars.


chapter 1|23 pages


Meta-Theory and Theory in Interpersonal Communication Research
ByDawn O. Braithwaite, Paul Schrodt, Kaitlin E. Phillips

part Part I|90 pages

Individually Centered Theories of Interpersonal Communication

chapter 2|12 pages

Affection Exchange Theory

A Bio-Evolutionary Look at Affectionate Communication
ByKory Floyd, Colin Hesse, Mark Alan Generous

chapter 3|13 pages

Attribution Theory

Finding Good Cause in the Search for Theory
ByBrian H. Spitzberg, Valerie Manusov

chapter 4|12 pages

Multiple Goals Theories

From Message Production to Evaluation
ByJohn P. Caughlin, Steven R. Wilson

chapter 5|12 pages

Problematic Integration Theory

Uncertainty and Related Communication Challenges
ByAustin S. Babrow, Kai Kuang

chapter 6|13 pages

Relational Framing Theory

Drawing Inferences About Relationships From Interpersonal Interactions
ByRachel M. McLaren, Denise Haunani Solomon

chapter 7|13 pages

Dual Process and Advice Response Theories

Explaining Outcomes of Supportive Communication
ByGraham D. Bodie, Erina L. MacGeorge

chapter 8|13 pages

The Theory of Motivated Information Management

Struggles With Uncertainty and Its Outcomes
ByWalid A. Afifi, Stephanie Tikkanen

part Part II|104 pages

Discourse/Interaction-Centered Theories of Interpersonal Communication

chapter 9|13 pages

Communicated Narrative Sense-Making Theory

Bridging Storytelling, Relationships, and Well-Being
ByJody Koenig Kellas

chapter 10|13 pages

Communication Accommodation Theory

Converging Toward an Understanding of Communication Adaptation in Interpersonal Relationships
ByJordan Soliz, Howard Giles, Jessica Gasiorek

chapter 11|15 pages

Discrepant Verbal–Nonverbal Profile Theory

Making Sense of Contradicting Messages in Interpersonal Communication
ByTsfira Grebelsky-Lichtman

chapter 12|13 pages

Expectancy Violations Theory and Interaction Adaptation Theory

From Expectations to Interactions
ByCindy H. White

chapter 13|11 pages

Face Theory

The Ongoing Performances of Our Lives
ByAimee E. Miller-Ott, Cimmiaron F. Alvarez

chapter 14|12 pages

Normative Rhetorical Theory

Explaining What Works in Challenging Communication Situations
ByDaena J. Goldsmith

chapter 15|12 pages

Relational Dialectics Theory

A Dialogic Theory of Meaning-Making
ByKristina M. Scharp, Lindsey J. Thomas

chapter 16|13 pages

A Theory of Transcendent Interactions

The Ultimate Communication Thrill Ride
ByJohn O. Greene

part Part III|77 pages

Identity-Centered Theories of Interpersonal Communication

chapter 17|12 pages

Communication Theory of Identity

Understanding the Multilayered Nature of Identity
ByMichael L. Hecht, Kaitlin E. Phillips

chapter 18|13 pages

Critical Feminist Theory

Giving Voice and Visibility to Gendered Experiences
ByKatherine J. Denker

chapter 19|12 pages

Critical Race Theory

Dismantling Racial Oppression Through Interpersonal Communication
ByMackensie Minniear, Megan E. Cardwell

chapter 20|13 pages


Theoretical Lineages Toward Interpersonal Legacies
ByRobin M. Boylorn

chapter 21|13 pages

Strong Black Woman Collective Theory

Understanding the Group-Level Communication Practices of Black Women
ByShardé M. Davis

chapter 22|12 pages

Queer Theory

Troubling Interpersonal Expectations of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
ByJimmie Manning, Tony E. Adams

part Part IV|117 pages

Relationship-Centered Theories of Interpersonal Communication

chapter 23|15 pages

Attachment Theory

A Communication Perspective
ByLaura K. Guerrero

chapter 24|14 pages

Communication Privacy Management Theory

Significance for Interpersonal Communication
BySandra Petronio, Jeffrey T. Child, Robert D. Hall

chapter 25|14 pages

Developmental Theories of Relationships

Uncertainty, Stage Model, and Turning Point Approaches to Relationships' Lifespan
ByPaul A. Mongeau, Mary Lynn Miller Henningsen, Bailey M. Oliver-Blackburn

chapter 26|12 pages

The Theory of Resilience and Relational Load

Implications for Research and Practice
ByTamara D. Afifi, Chantel Haughton, Allison P. Mazur

chapter 27|12 pages

Media Multiplexity Theory

Explaining Tie Strength and Technology Use
ByAndrew M. Ledbetter

chapter 28|13 pages

Relational Turbulence Theory

Interpersonal Communication During Times of Transition
ByLeanne K. Knobloch, Denise Haunani Solomon, Jennifer A. Theiss, Rachel M. McLaren

chapter 29|12 pages

Social Exchange Theories

Calculating the Rewards and Costs of Personal Relationships
ByLaura Stafford, Kimberly Kuiper

chapter 30|12 pages

The Theory of Interpersonal Knowledge

Interaction Requirements to Develop Dyad-Specific Familiarity
ByJoseph B. Walther

chapter 31|11 pages

Truth-Default Theory

Changing Our Understanding of Human Deception
ByTimothy R. Levine