Nonverbal involvement across interactions with same-sex friends, opposite-sex friends and romantic partners: Consistency or change?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


The degree of consistency and change in communication across different dyadic partners is an important issue in theory on interpersonal interaction. Factors such as communicator sex and predispositions toward approach/avoidance are likely to contribute to consistency, whereas factors such as target sex, relationship type, intimacy and impression management are likely to contribute to change. Using a partial round-robin design, this study investigates how individuals' involvement behavior changes across interactions with same-sex friends, opposite-sex friends, and romantic partners. Results showed that close proximity, touch, gaze, general interest, less fluency, longer response latencies, and more silence distinguished romantic relationships from friendships. Frequent nodding and vocal interest were more prevalent in friendships than romantic relationships. Postural congruence occurred more in same-rather than opposite-sex dyads. Sex differences also emerged: females displayed more direct body orientation and gaze, whereas males engaged in more forward lean and postural congruence. Overall, results indicate that while there is considerable consistency across an individual's interactions with various relational partners, there are important differences due to relationship type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-58
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1997



  • Friendship
  • Nonverbal involvement
  • Romantic relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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