“I Thought We Settled This?!” Antecedents and Consequences of Resolution of an Initial Episode in a Serial Argument

Michael E. Roloff*, Rachel M. Reznik, Courtney Waite Miller, Kristen L. Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The serial arguing literature has largely ignored the notion of conflict resolution, as serial arguments are by definition repeated arguments about the same issue. The goals of the present research are to investigate the antecedents and consequences of believing a serial argument was resolved and the degree to which relational partners agree on resolution. We report three studies using secondary analysis of previously published data. In Studies 1 and 2, we found that many individuals erroneously believed that one or both parties thought the argument was initially resolved. In most cases, the respondent felt that issue was not resolved but believed the partner did. Thinking the issue was constructively resolved is positively related to reporting that constructive communication took place during the initial episode of the argument, and these constructive outcomes are negatively related to post-episodic mulling about the argument. The results of a dyadic analysis in Study 3 show that both initiators and targets think that their partners agree with them about whether the initial argument was resolved and most frequently think that both parties see the argument as not resolved. However, when looking at actual agreement as to whether the initial argument was resolved, we found that the perceptions of initiators and resistors were not significantly related.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-31
Number of pages24
JournalArgumentation and Advocacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • conflict resolution
  • constructive communication
  • mulling
  • serial arguing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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