Relational quality and communicative responses following hurtful events in dating relationships: An expectancy violations analysis

Guy Foster Bachman, Laura Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


The present study uses expectancy violations theory to investigate hurtful events, relational quality, and communication in dating relationships. Participants (N = 263) described a hurtful behavior performed by their dating partner and recalled their reaction to that behavior. When respondents evaluated the hurtful event as a highly negative expectancy violation and judged their partner as unrewarding, they were more likely to report breaking up, being less satisfied and committed, and using destructive rather than constructive communication. Individuals who were deeply hurt reported being slightly less likely to break up, more likely to be satisfied and committed, and more likely to use both constructive and destructive communication. Finally, victims who perceived their partners' actions as intentional were more likely to report using destructive communicative responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-963
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006



  • Break-up
  • Commitment
  • Communication
  • Expectancy violations
  • Hurtful events
  • Hurtful messages
  • Relational satisfaction
  • Rewards
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Psychology

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