The Effect of Relationship Characteristics and Relational Communication on Experiences of Hurt From Romantic Partners


Corresponding author: Rachel M. McLaren; e-mail:


This study expands the relational turbulence model (RTM; Solomon & Knobloch,) by theorizing about how characteristics of relationships and relational judgments influence people's experiences of hurtful messages. Previous applications of RTM to hurt have uncovered associations among relational characteristics that influence people's hurtful experiences; however, the process by which these characteristics influence experiences of hurt remains unclear. We propose that relational communication (specifically, perceptions of dominance, and disaffiliation) is the mechanism linking relational qualities to hurt. A multigroup SEM was conducted to test for the possibility of sex differences. Results showed that people's experiences of hurt vary as a function of both relationship characteristics and relational inferences. Results also indicated a difference in path coefficients for males and females.