Relational communication encompasses communication processes in personal relationships such as romantic relationships, family relationships, and friendships. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods as well as variety of theoretical perspectives, our research broadly examines the expression and interpretation of messages in personal relationships surrounding everyday interactions as well as significant relational events. We assess the role of communication in developing, maintaining, and dissolving relationships, how communication impacts partners and their relationships, and how to improve relational quality or individual well-being through communication. Recent topics examined include conflict mediation, relational standards, relational uncertainty in dating relationships, and communication environments in families.
Courses | Publications by faculty members | Dissertations and Theses | Faculty and courses in other departments
CMS 315M Interpersonal Communication Theory
CMS 334K Nonverbal Communication
CMS 344K Lying and Deception
CMS 357 Family Communication
CMS 358 Communication and Personal Relationships
Publications by faculty members
Bute, J. J., & Donovan-Kicken, E. (2007). Effects of communication-debilitating illnesses and injuries on close relationships: A relational maintenance perspective. Health Communication, 21, 235-246.
Caughlin, J. P., & Vangelisti, A. L. (2009). Why people conceal or reveal secrets: A multiple goals theory perspective. In T. Afifi & W. Afifi (Eds.), Uncertainty and information regulation in interpersonal contexts: Theories and applications. New York: Routledge.
Caughlin, J. P., & Vangelisti, A. L. (2006). Conflict in dating and romantic relationships. In J. Oetzel & S. Ting-Toomey (Eds.), The Sage handbook of conflict communication (pp. 129-157). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Vangelisti, A. L., Middleton, A. V., & Ebersole, D. S. (in press). Couples’ cognitions during conflict: Differences between what partners say and what they think. Human Communication Research.
Vangelisti, A. L. (in press). Communication in personal relationships. In M. Mikulincer & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), The APA handbook of personality and social psychology: Interpersonal relations and group processes (Vol. 2). Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.
Caughlin, J. P., Vangelisti, A. L., & Mikucki-Enyart, S. L. (in press). Conflict in dating and marital relationships. In J. Oetzel & S. Ting-Toomey (Eds.), The Sage handbook of conflict communication (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Vangelisti, A. L. (2011). Interpersonal processes in romantic relationships. In M. L. Knapp & J. A. Daly (Eds.), Handbook of interpersonal communication (4th ed., pp. 597-631). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Vangelisti, A. L. (2009). Challenges in conceptualizing social support. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26, 39-51.
Vangelisti, A. L. (2009). Hurt feelings: Distinguishing features, functions, and overview. In A. L. Vangelisti (Ed.), Feeling hurt in close relationships (pp. 3-11). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Dailey, R. M., Rossetto, K., Pfiester, R. A., & Surra, C. A. (in press). A qualitative analysis of on-again/off-again romantic relationships: "It's up, it's down, all around." Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Dailey, R. M., Pfiester, A., Jin, B., Beck, G., & Clark, G. (2009). On-again/off-again dating relationships: How are they different from other dating relationships? Personal Relationships, 16, 23-47.
Dailey, R. M. (2008). Parental challenge: Developing and validating a measure of how parents challenge their adolescents. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25, 643-669.
Dailey, R. M. (2006). Confirmation in parent-adolescent relationships and adolescent openness: Toward extending confirmation theory. Communication Monographs, 73, 434-458.
Daly, J. A. (in press). Affinity seeking in personal relationship. In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Personal Relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hampel, A. D., & Vangelisti, A. L. (2008). Commitment expectations in romantic relationships: Application of a prototype interaction-pattern model. Personal Relationships, 15, 81-102.
Knobloch, L. K., & Donovan-Kicken, E. (2006). Perceived involvement of network members in courtships: A test of the relational turbulence model. Personal Relationships, 13, 281-302.
Sillars, A. L., & Vangelisti, A. L. (2006). Communication: Basic properties and their relevance to relationship research. In A. L. Vangelisti & D. Perlman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of personal relationships (pp. 331-351). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Solomon, D. H., & Vangelisti, A. L. (in press). Establishing and maintaining relationships. In C. R. Berger, M. E. Roloff, & D. Roskos-Ewolsen (Eds.), Handbook of Communication Science (2nd ed., pp. 327-344). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Vangelisti, A. L. (2008). Relational termination. In W. Donsbach (Ed.), The international encyclopedia of communication (vol. IX, pp. 4167-4169). Oxford, UK & Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Vangelisti, A. L., & Beck, G. (2007). Intimacy and fear of intimacy. In L. L'Abate, D. D. Embry, & M. S. Baggett (Eds.), Handbook of low-cost interventions to promote physical and mental health: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 395-414). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Vangelisti, A. L., Maguire, K. C., Alexander, A. L., & Clark, G. (2007). Hurtful family environments: Links with individual, relationship, and perceptual variables. Communication Monographs, 74, 357-385.
Vangelisti, A. L. (2006). Hurtful interactions and the dissolution of intimacy. In M. A. Fine & J. H. Harvey (Eds.), Handbook of divorce and relationship dissolution (pp. 133-152). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Vangelisti, A. L. (2006). Relationship dissolution: Antecedents, processes, and consequences. In P. Noller & J. A. Feeney (Eds.), Close relationships (pp. 353-379). London: Psychology Press.
Dailey, R. M., Middleton, A., & Green, E. W. (2012). Predicting perceived relational stability in on-again/off-again relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29, 52-76.
Dailey, R. M., Hampel, A. D., & Roberts, J. (2010). Relational maintenance in on-again/off-again relationships: An assessment of how relational maintenance, uncertainty, and relational quality vary by relationship type and status. Communication Monographs, 77, 75-101.
Dailey, R. M. (2010). Testing components of confirmation: How acceptance and challenge from mothers, fathers, and siblings and are related to adolescent self-concept. Communication Monographs, 77, 592-617.
Ph.D. Dissertations and M.A. Theses
Cherry, S. M. (2008). Rule-breakers and peace-makers: A study of conflict communication between adolescents and parent in single-parent homes.
Hampel, A. D. (2006). Commitment expectations in romantic relationships: An application of a prototype interaction pattern model.
Jang, S. A. (2006). Understanding uncertainty, communication efficacy, and avoidance following the discovery of a relational partner's deception.
Mann, T. M. (2006). Cooperative and competitive co-parenting: Relations to marital quality across the transition to parenthood and predictive of children's emotional development.
Middleton, A. V. (2008). Standards and parent-child relationships: An exploratory and quantitative examination of adult children's relationship standards and satisfaction.
Rankin, C. T. (2005). Opening up the ex-files: Using coorientation theory to examine partners' perceptions of talking about relational history.
Schroeder, D. L. (2008). Information management and deception: Topics, reasons, and satisfaction in parent-child relationships.
Woods, J. (2008). The self-disclosure of children of divorce.
Faculty and courses in other departments
In designing their programs of study, graduate students can also take coursework in units across UT such as:
Human Development and Family studies within the School of Human Ecology
Department of Psychology
Department of Sociology
School of Social Work
School of Nursing
College of Education