Episode Type, Attachment Orientation, and Frame Salience: Evidence for a Theory of Relational Framing

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Relational framing theory asserts that dominance-submission and affiliation-disaffiliation tend to displace each other as frames for processing social interaction; involvement is argued to be a content-free intensifier variable that contributes to judgments of dominance or affiliation as a function of the salient relational frame. The present study seeks to replicate and extend previous tests of these claims by evaluating three hypotheses: (a) The differential salience of dominance-submission and affiliation-disaffiliation frames as a function of the type of social episode is robust across same-sex and cross-sex friendship dyads; (b) the magnitude of the association between involvement and dominance and affiliation varies as a function of frame salience instantiated by the type of episode; and (c) attachment anxiety is positively correlated with the perceived relevance of both dominance-submission and affiliation-disaffiliation to social episodes. Results are consistent with all three of the hypotheses, but relational framing is unrelated to subscales operationalizing the comfort with closeness dimension of attachment orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-152
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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