Communication and Interdependence in Geographically Separated Relationships



    1. Timothy Stephen received his Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University in 1980. The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Teresa Harrison, William Husson, and Stuart Sigman for comments on drafts of this article.
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This article discusses the theoretic underpinnings of a framework for the analysis of communication in ongoing social relationships. A set of studies that have investigated various aspects of the framework are summarized. The majority of these studies have tested the notion that communication between members of ongoing relationships generates a shared view of the world that bonds relationship members. Relationship members who have achieved this type of bond are referred to as symbolically interdependent. The remainder of the article presents results of a study of the relationships between symbolic interdependence and time spent talking in groups of premarital couples that were either separated geographically or living in close proximity. Results supported the hypothesis that this relationship would be stronger in the group of geographically separated couples. Implications of the study are discussed as well as future directions for research on the perspective.