Communication Efficacy as a Mechanism for the Chilling Effect on Complaint Avoidance A Cross-cultural Comparison of American and Chinese Romantic Relationships

Yachao Li (1) , Jennifer A. Samp (2)
(1) Department of Communication Studies, University of Georgia , United States
(2) Department of Communication Studies, University of Georgia , United States

Abstract

Complaint avoidance is a common response to relational conflict; yet, it can cause adverse personal and relational consequences. This study examined cultural (i.e., U.S. versus China) and relational (i.e., relational power, communication efficacy) factors predicting complaint avoidance. Hypothesizing that Americans engage in less complaint avoidance than Chinese (H1), relational power negatively predicts complaint avoidance via communication efficacy across cultures (H2), and culture moderates how power and efficacy predict avoidance (H3), we surveyed 392 college-aged dating individuals (194 Americans, 198 Chinese). Results confirmed H1 and H2. H3 was partially supported: after controlling for relational and conflict characteristics, as communication efficacy increased, there were greater decreases in complaint avoidance in Americans than in Chinese. Implications for cross-cultural studies on relational conflict are discussed.

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Authors

Yachao Li
yachao.li@uga.edu (Primary Contact)
Jennifer A. Samp
Author Biographies

Yachao Li, Department of Communication Studies, University of Georgia

Yachao Li (M.A., Rutgers University, 2015) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Georgia (UGA). He is a Fellow of the Future Faculty Fellows at UGA.

Jennifer A. Samp, Department of Communication Studies, University of Georgia

Jennifer A. Samp (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1999) is a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Georgia. She is a Fellow of the UGA Owens Institute for Behavioral Research, a Faculty Affiliate of the UGA Center for Risk Communication, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Emory University Center for Injury Control.

Li, Y., & Samp, J. A. (2019). Communication Efficacy as a Mechanism for the Chilling Effect on Complaint Avoidance A Cross-cultural Comparison of American and Chinese Romantic Relationships. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 19(1), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v19i1.778

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