2010 G. R. Miller Outstanding Book Award - Interpersonal Division of the National Communication Association
“New Directions offers the best graduate/professional level introduction to the field of interpersonal communication currently available. It is compact, accessible, and authoritative.”
—Mac Parks, Journal of Communication
Presenting today's cutting-edge interpersonal communication research and reflecting on the changes that have occurred over the past three decades, New Directions in Interpersonal Communication Research is relevant and useful to a broad audience, from advanced undergraduate students to the most experienced researchers in the area. By telling the “stories” of research, this volume's contributors avoid the dry, encyclopedic style that is typical of chapters in handbooks. This new collection showcases the vital, collaborative, and interdisciplinary interpersonal communication research that is being conducted today. Editors Sandi W. Smith and Steven R. Wilson bring together a combination of established and newer scholars, as well as “boundary spanners”—those who are applying interpersonal theories and concepts to areas such as family, health, intercultural, organizational, and mediated communication—to illustrate the wealth and breadth of this area of study and research. Each chapter has clear applied value with an emphasis on doing theoretically driven work that has implications for social issues and problems.
Offers a broad overview of interpersonal communication as an area of study, situating it historically, discussing advances in theory as well as application, and including a broad range of metatheoretical perspectives; Traces evolving trends during the past 30 years that have shaped the study of interpersonal communication and continue to make it relevant, including issues about the larger society (such as globalization and technology), about the communication discipline (such as fractionalization), and about interpersonal communication in particular (such as a focus on “darker” topics); Includes topics that range from evolutionary and dialectical perspectives on interpersonal communication, to uncertainty and turbulence in interpersonal relationships, to comforting and destructive patterns of communication; Illustrates how interpersonal communication research can be applied to such diverse topics as information management and privacy, family adaptation to medical diagnoses, and how writing blogs affects self-esteem; Tells the background stories of contributors' research programs, including why the topic matters, what they found, where their work is going, and lessons learned
New Directions in Interpersonal Communication Research is intended as a core text for graduate and upper-level undergraduate courses in Interpersonal Communication, Relational Communication, and Communication Theory.
Chapter 4: Relational Uncertainty and Interpersonal Communication
Relational Uncertainty and Interpersonal Communication
Uncertainty is a pervasive part of human interaction (Berger & Gudykunst, 1991; Brashers, 2001; Kramer, 2004). It echoes through the hallways of hospitals, corporate headquarters, and shopping malls. It softens the claims of meteorologists who forecast the weather on the television news. It surrounds expectant mothers and fathers who assemble to learn about the birthing process. It envelops the trading frenzy on the floor of the stock exchange. It permeates the faces of teachers and students on the first day of school. It blankets airport travelers in their quest to clear security checkpoints, board flights, and retrieve luggage. It pervades negotiations between foreign diplomats. It fills casinos and racetracks with excitement. It qualifies the predictions ...