Conversational improvement strategies for interethnic communication: African american and european american perspectives

Judith N. Martin, Michael L. Hecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper reports a comparative study of the relationship between communication issues and conversational improvement strategies for African Americans and European Americans. Based on a model of interethnic communication developed in previous research (Hecht, Larkey, Johnson, 1992; Hecht, Ribeau, Alberts; 1989; Hecht, Ribeau, & Sedano, 1990), a sample of African Americans and European Americans were asked to describe conversations with individuals from the other ethnic group. They were also asked to identify the problematic issues in the conversations and conversational improvement strategies used to deal with these issues. Some conversational improvement strategies focused on the self, some on the other interactant, and others on the joint action of both interactants. A multiple discriminant analysis and regression analyses were computed to identify relationships between the issues and strategies used by both ethnic groups in high and low intimacy relationships. Results revealed that relationships between communication issues and conversational improvement strategies were stronger for African Americans than for European Americans. Additionally, overall, African Americans reported a predominant focus on conversational improvement strategies requiring joint actions of both interactants, whereas European Americans emphasized strategies placing responsibility on the other interactant. Implications of results for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-255
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Monographs
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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