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Depressive Symptoms and Relational Uncertainty as Predictors of Reassurance-Seeking and Negative Feedback-Seeking in Conversation

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Integrative interpersonal theory implies that relational uncertainty may play a role in the reassurance-seeking and negative feedback-seeking behavior of people with depressive symptoms. We sought to extend the theory by (a) documenting how individuals with depressive symptoms communicate under conditions of relational uncertainty, (b) evaluating actor and partner effects, and (c) utilizing observational measures of reassurance-seeking and negative feedback-seeking. Sixty-nine romantic couples engaged in 50 minutes of conversation rated by independent judges. Multilevel modeling results indicated that the depressive symptoms of actors and partners were the primary predictor of an actor's reassurance-seeking, but an actor's relational uncertainty was the primary predictor of an actor's negative feedback-seeking. The findings illuminate the interplay among depressive symptoms, relational uncertainty, and communication.

Keywords: Depressive Symptoms; Negative Feedback-Seeking; Reassurance-Seeking; Relational Uncertainty

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637751.2011.618137

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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