ISSN 1016-1007 GPN2005600032
頁數:49﹣94 親密關係中傷害性溝通的親社會過程: 受傷感、建設性溝通與關係結果之研究 The Prosocial Process of Hurtful Communication in Intimate Relationships: Hurt Feelings, Constructive Communication, and Relationship Consequences
Mao-Chia Sun
constructive communication, hurtful communication, hurt feelings, intimate relationship
當前傷害性溝通的文獻多聚焦於受傷感對人際關係所造成的負面影響,卻鮮少關注傷害性溝通有助於改善親密關係的親社會過程。為補充文獻之不足,本研究旨在探討在親密的人際關係中,受傷感如何透過不同類型的建設性溝通來改善關係的人際互動過程。本研究使用Qualtrics問卷軟體進行網路問卷調查,並於Amazon Mechanical Turk平台招募405位受測者。

Hurtful communication is a common occurrence in intimate relationships. Extensive research has demonstrated the harmful influence of hurt on relational functioning. Although a handful of research (e.g., Bachman & Guerrero, 2006b; Lemay et al., 2012) has paid attention to the potential positive effects of hurt, few research efforts have sought to identify the prosocial process of hurtful communication that can repair close relationships, in terms of how hurt improves relationship consequences through constructive communication. To address this issue, this study explores the prosocial process of hurtful communication in intimate relationships by investigating the conditions under which such a process takes place and what types of constructive communication elicited by hurt promote relationship maintenance.

Hurtful experience usually occurs from relational devaluation. In a sense, hurt can be viewed as a relational indicator that tells people the status of their relationship, and feeling hurt signals potential relational threats. Since such devaluation threatens victims’ need to belong, feeling hurt should trigger victims’ relationship-constructive behaviors for relationship maintenance. Likewise, according to the sociometer theory and social reconnection hypothesis, experiencing hurt prompts victims to perceive relational threats and to then defuse them through prosocial behaviors. Furthermore, hurt involves expressing vulnerability, which then drives victims to seek reassurance or comfort from their partner through positive communication. As a result, feeling hurt in some cases should serve as a prosocial function to keep relationships going via constructive behavior aimed at restoring partners’ acceptance and valuing of the relationship.

Rusbult et al.’s (1991) accommodation framework and Bachman and Guerrero’s (2006a, 2006b) work provide a guiding approach to understand how people may react constructively to hurtful events in active (integrative communication) and passive (loyalty) ways. Empirical evidence has illuminated that hurt may motivate victims to adopt constructive communication. Therefore, hurt should positively predict integrative communication and loyalty (H1). Another work has documented that hurt can have positive and negative consequences, but it is still unclear how hurtful experience, constructive communication, and relationship consequences intercorrelate. As stated earlier, hurtful experiences often involve threats to a needed relationship with a romantic partner; therefore, hurt can be associated with more positive relationship consequences (H2) and less negative relationship consequences (H3) through constructive communication (integrative communication and loyalty). Moreover, relationship satisfaction has been found to affect victims’ interpretation and reactions to being hurt. Thus, how hurt improves relationship consequences through constructive communication should be influenced by the extent to which how victims are satisfied with their relationship. By this logic, relationship satisfaction should moderate the mediating effects of constructive communication on the association between hurt and positive relationship consequences as well as between hurt and negative relationship consequences (H4 & H5).

In total, 405 individuals in intimate relationships were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk to complete an online survey. Participants first answered a set of questions about their relationship and partner. Afterwards, they were required to recall and describe two types (severe and minor) of recent hurtful interactions with their current romantic partner in narrative form. After each recall, participants had to finish a series of measures with regard to cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and relational responses. Path analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses using Hayes PROCESS Models 4 and 7.

Results indicate in both severe and minor hurtful events that hurt positively predicts integrative communication and loyalty. Moreover, in both severe and minor hurtful events, hurt is inclined to trigger integrative communication, which then likely produces positive relationship consequences. However, only in severe hurtful events is hurt more likely to promote integrative communication, which in turn likely mitigates negative relationship consequences. The findings suggest that active constructive communication (integrative communication) is an effective strategy that can help couples work out their transgressions. This is because integrative communication opens up an opportunity for both partners to discuss their thoughts and feelings, increase mutual understanding, and then find a way to resolve relationship difficulties.

In severe hurtful events, hurt tends to provoke loyalty (patiently waiting for a partner to repair the relationship), which in turn likely generates positive relationship consequences. Severe hurtful events usually involve more serious transgressions. It is possible that victims think their partner has to take full responsibility for the transgression and then should respond actively with remedial actions, such that victims are more likely to adopt passive constructive communication. Furthermore, loyalty can reduce direct confrontation and victims’ aggressive behavior, thereby avoiding any escalation of relationship issues. Surprisingly, in severe hurtful events, hurt also relates to negative relationship consequences through loyalty. This implies that passive constructive communication does not always guarantee having positive relationship consequences, and there is still a chance that using loyalty is likely to have negative outcomes.

It is noteworthy that the direct effect of hurt on negative relationship consequences is significant in minor hurtful events, but not in severe ones. This plausibly suggests that hurt makes people care less about their partner and the relationship without any engagement of constructive communication, and that constructive communication plays a key role more in serious relational transgressions than in minor ones. In addition, relationship satisfaction does not moderate the prosocial process of hurtful communication. It might be that the average of participants’ relationship satisfaction is relatively high, and thus a more limited variance in relationship satisfaction may produce insignificant moderated mediation effects.

The findings overall identify how the prosocial processes of hurtful communication take place in severe and minor hurtful interactions. Such prosocial processes may be more pronounced for those who successfully have navigated hurtful events than for those who have terminated their close relationships after such events. Although hurtful experiences are aversive and distressing, when people’s feelings are hurt, people may respond to relational threats with constructive communication. In particular, people who respond constructively through integrative communication can reap positive consequences from the hurtful experience.
2024/ 春