Information Seeking Beyond Initial Interaction.

Negotiating Relational Uncertainty Within Close Relationships


Address correspondence to Leanne K. Knobloch, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2078 Vilas Hall, 821 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706; email:


This essay extends previous work on uncertainty and information seeking within close relationships by considering how relationship parameters correspond with the directness of people's information-seeking strategies. Because we believe that assumptions of uncertainty reduction theory (Berger & Calabrese, 1975) have been translated into the context of close relationships without attention to the unique features of that domain, we begin by reframing questions about uncertainty to reflect issues relevant to intimate associations. In particular, we reconsider the focus of uncertainty, the function of uncertainty reduction, and the nature of information seeking. We then discuss how relationship intimacy, power dynamics, and information expectancies correspond with information-seeking behavior within close relationships. In doing so, we highlight how the negotiation of relational uncertainty may function to sustain intimate associations.