Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Clark, Margaret


This dissertation deals with people voicing concerns to a romantic partner in an attempt to change that romantic partner’s attitudes or behaviors either: a) to support the partner’s welfare (partner-benefiting voice) or b) to support the person’s own welfare (self-benefiting voice). Existing work on voice is reviewed and it is noted that the majority of prior research on voice has focused on how individual traits influence the use of voice and has ignored how the relational context between the parties might influence the use of voice. It is on this question that this dissertation focuses. Through three studies I assess how four relational factors: communal strength, commitment, perceived communal strength, and perceived commitment influence the exercise of self-and partner-benefiting voice. Additionally, in this dissertation, I also investigate the implications of expressing voice within close relationships, on relationship satisfaction. Whereas these studies yielded some evidence for a positive relationship between one’s retrospectively reported use of interpersonal voice and the four relational variables, daily diary reports of the use of interpersonal voice and actual behaviors indicative of interpersonal voice observed in the laboratory yielded evidence of the opposite relationship between the four relational variables and use of voice within close relationships. Furthermore, we found a negative relationship between one’s use of voice and one’s own relationship satisfaction. Through this work, I begin to address how relational context influences the use of voice and hope to ignite additional research into interpersonal voice in close relationships.