Exploring the decision to give versus withhold feedback on others' romantic relationship: An interview study
LE3 .A278 2017
Bachelor of Science
Previous research has explored the consequences of individuals receiving feedback from social network members about their romantic relationships. However, very little research has been conducted on what prompts members of the social network to provide such feedback. This exploratory study aimed to discover some of the factors that motivate social network members to provide disapproving feedback about relationships, and what factors might inhibit giving feedback. It also investigated why participants disapprove of others’ relationships, how they reveal their disapproval, and how their feedback is received. Participants first completed an on-line screening survey, and then 40 participants (21 females, 16 males, and 3 transgendered individuals) were questioned in more depth using a semi-structured phone interview. Participants were asked to discuss a time they disapproved of a family member’s relationship and a time they disapproved of a friend’s relationship. Results showed that disapproval was more commonly expressed if the social network member was close to the target participant. Social network members sometimes did not offer disapproval because they were afraid of ruining the relationship with the target participant. The most common initial reactions to expressed disapproval were anger and/or defensiveness, and acceptance. Future research needs to be conducted to determine the optimal times and strategies for expressing disapproval to target participants, using correlational studies, and to determine if there are other factors affecting the expression of disapproval that were not identified in the current study.
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