Boundary rules: Factors that inhibit expressing concerns about another's romantic relationship

Lauryn L. Wilson, Michael E. Roloff, Colleen M. Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Boundary rules are social conventions that protect the primary activities of a relationship from extrarelational interference. This study examines how boundary rules restrict the ability of individuals to express their concerns about the negative behavior and characteristics of a friend's romantic partner. A survey of college students indicated that about 50% of their concerns had been communicated to their friend, but less than 10% were expressed directly to the romantic partner. Respondents provided a variety of reasons for not disclosing irritations as well as specifying conditions under which they could express their concerns. Females were more likely than males to disclose their concerns to the friend, but no gender differences were found with regard to disclosing irritations to the romantic partner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-640
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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