Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Is Listening to a Partner's Negative Expressivity Always Detrimental? The Role of Perceiving Oneself as Instrumental

Krueger, Kori (2020) Is Listening to a Partner's Negative Expressivity Always Detrimental? The Role of Perceiving Oneself as Instrumental. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (1MB) | Preview


The interpersonal costs of expressing negativity are well-documented. Yet, expressing negativity has sometimes been associated with interpersonal benefits. I propose that negative expressivity can confer relational benefits by giving partners a chance to be instrumental—to facilitate the expressor’s goal pursuits—but that it may be difficult to be instrumental in negative expressivity contexts. Across five studies, I examined the role of listener instrumentality in determining the interpersonal consequences of receiving negative disclosures from a romantic partner. In two experiments (Studies 1 and 2), listeners perceived their romantic partners’ negative (vs. positive or neutral) disclosures as providing a greater opportunity and invitation for them to be instrumental to the partner. In two subsequent experiments (Studies 3 and 4), listeners who were made to feel instrumental (vs. non-instrumental) when their partners expressed negativity reported more positive perceptions of themselves, their partners, and their relationships. Listeners who were led to feel instrumental even reaped relational benefits beyond those of participants in a non-disclosure control condition; listeners who were led to feel non-instrumental incurred relational costs. In a correlational study of romantic couples (Study 5), listeners who reported greater situational instrumentality after a face-to-face interaction in which their partner made a negative disclosure and those who reported chronically high perceptions of their instrumentality when their partner came to them for support reported interpersonal benefits in comparison to those who reported lower situational or chronic instrumentality. Furthermore, there was some evidence that listener instrumentality moderated the effects of a discloser’s chronic and situational negative expressivity on listener outcomes. Taken together, these studies suggest that listener instrumentality is critical in determining the effects a partner’s negative expressivity.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Krueger, Koriklk136@pitt.eduklk1360000-0003-3998-277X
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairForest, Amandaforest@pitt.eduforest
Committee MemberLevine, Johnjml@pitt.edujml
Committee MemberSchumann, Karinakschumann@pitt.edukschumann
Committee MemberHelgeson,
Date: 16 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 July 2020
Approval Date: 16 September 2020
Submission Date: 24 July 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 216
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: self-disclosure; romantic relationship; helping
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 14:19
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2020 14:19


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item