You Should Just Know Why I'm Upset: Expectancy Violation Theory and the Influence of Mind Reading Expectations (MRE) on Responses to Relational Problems

Courtney N. Wright*, Michael E. Roloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Some people believe that intimate partners should be able to understand each other's needs and feelings without their having to express them. Those holding mind reading expectations (MRE) often have less-satisfying relationships. Because much of the research on MRE is variable analytic without strong ties to theory, research does not inform as to how MRE create relational problems. We use Expectancy Violation Theory as a frame for understanding the relationship between MRE and problematic interactions. Among a sample of individuals in dating relationships, we discovered that MRE are positively associated with individuals reporting that they became combative toward their partners or engaged in the silent treatment when their partners had failed to recognize that they had upset them. These relationships were mediated by the respondents becoming more upset as a result of their partners’ lack of awareness. Future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalCommunication Research Reports
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2015

Keywords

  • Combativeness
  • Expectancy Violation Theory
  • Mind Reading Expectations
  • Relational Communication
  • The Silent Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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