The role of intimacy in the production and perception of relationship talk within courtship

Leanne K. Knobloch, Denise Haunani Solomon, Jennifer A. Theiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The authors define relationship talk as content messages that reference the nature of the relationship between people. They seek to contribute to the literature by (a) conceptualizing relationship talk in ways that attend to its nuances, and (b) evaluating how intimacy predicts the production and perception of relationship talk. They conducted an observational study of conversations between 120 dating couples. Length of romantic interest, compared to intimacy, was the more proximal predictor of the prominence, explicitness, depth, and negative valence of relationship talk. In general, relationship talk was positively associated with people's perceptions of the relational impact of conversation, but intimacy was unrelated to relational impact. The prominence of relationship talk noted by third-party judges was positively associated with relational impact when intimacy was low but not high. The authors discuss how their findings illuminate content messages about relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-241
Number of pages31
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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