Responding to rejected requests: Persistence and response type as functions of obstacles to compliance

Danette E. Ifert, Michael E. Roloff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This study examines persons' reactions when encountering refusals of requests. Three different obstacle types - unwillingness, imposition, and inability - are discussed as determinants of persistence. Linguistic moves following a refusal are then investigated to understand how obstacles expressed in a refusal influence the type of response to refusal. Results suggest that intimate requesters indicate a greater desire to persist when confronted by unwillingness obstacles than by inability obstacles. Requesters encountering unwillingness obstacles also tend to be less likely to forgive reluctant request targets and more likely to inquire about the basis for refusal and to produce additional persuasive messages than those encountering inability obstacles. These differences may influence both the types of obstacles that refusers choose to express and the relationship between requester and rejector after refusal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-58
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


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