Events That Increase Uncertainty in Personal Relationships II Replication and Extension



    1. Sally Planalp (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1983) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication, University of Colorado—Boulder.
    Search for more papers by this author

    1. Diane K. Rutherford (M.A., Pittsburg State University, 1979) is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois—Champaign-Urbana.
    Search for more papers by this author

    1. James M. Honeycutt (Ph.D., University of Illinois— Champaign-Urbana, 1987) is an assistant professor in the Department of Speech Communication, Louisiana State University—Baton Rouge. An earlier version of this article was presented at the International Communication Association Convention, Montreal, 1987. The research was supported in part by the Department of Speech Communication, University of Illinois and by a grant from the University of Illinois Research Board. We thank Marci Fromm, Vincent Jurgens, and Gerald Schiera for help in coding and Steve Gorman, Dean Hewes, and Lisa O'Dell for help in analyzing data.
    Search for more papers by this author


Events that change relational knowledge were investigated because they have theoretical implications for uncertainty reduction and relational cognition and they have important consequences in terms of personal trauma and relational damage. Data were gathered in ways that corrected major problems in earlier studies, results were compared between two studies, and hypotheses about differences were tested. Additional information was also gathered concerning how often such events occurred, what led up to them, attributions about causes, coping strategies, and how the experience was viewed in hindsight. The results indicated that although the emotional and cognitive effects of the events were nearly as strong as found in earlier studies, the effects on relationships were not as negative. Other findings and their implications for uncertainty reduction theory and existing models of schema change were also discussed.