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Abstract

Observer ratings of two 1/2-hour interviews between the same randomly selected nurse-patient pairs were undertaken. It was hypothesized that (a) nurses and patients would emit complementary dominant and submissive behaviors, respectively, on a status dimension during both interviews; (b) neither nurses nor patients would exert greater interpersonal influence for change on the status dimension; (c) patients would not reciprocate higher levels of nurse friendliness during the first interview but would during the second; and (d) nurses would exert greater interpersonal influence for change in feeling toward reciprocal friendliness in patients. Interviews were rated using the Leary Interpersonal Check List. Interjudge reliability was established for Leary's coding system as used in the present study. The results of four separate† tests supported the hypotheses related to nurse and patient positions on the status and feeling dimensions during each of the two interviews. The patterns of correlation coefficients in two separate cross-lagged panel analyses provided strong support for a lack of greater influence by either party for status and some support for greater nurse influence for change in patient feelings. The results support the position that a social psychological model emphasizing the rules of interpersonal complementarity can be used to understand and generate remedies for maladaptive interpersonal behavior.