The Influence of Argumentative Role (Initiator vs. Resistor) on Perceptions of Serial Argument Resolvability and Relational Harm
Source: Argumentation, Volume 14, Number 1, February 2000 , pp. 1-15(15)
Intimate partners are sometimes unable to resolve an argument in a single episode. Often this results in serial arguing as one individual repeatedly confronts a resisting other over the same issue. This study investigates how adopting the role of initiator versus resistor impacts experiences with and perceptions of a serial argument. The results of a survey of undergraduates in dating relationships indicate that relative to resistors, initiators report that the initial argumentative episode resulted from an urgent need for action; that they planned what they would say prior to the confrontation; and that they were demanding while their partners withdrew from the interaction. Regardless of an individual's argumentative role, the more times a serial argument had occurred, the more predictable or `scripted' the content of each episode was perceived to be. However, among resistors, the more times a serial argument had occurred, the less resolvable the argument was perceived to be and the more harmful it was seen to be to the relationship. In contrast, among initiators, there were nonsignificant trends which indicated that the more times a serial argument had occurred, the more resolvable it was perceived to be and the less relational harm that had resulted from it. Implications for future research are discussed.
Document Type: Regular paper
Publication date: 2000-02-01