Explaining How College-Aged Individuals Provide Information to Friends Experiencing Romantic Relational Uncertainty

Tara G. McManus, Yuliya Yurashevich, Courtney McDaniel


College-aged individuals report having difficulty deciding what and how much information to provide to friends, yet they often turn to one another for information when experiencing relational uncertainty in a romantic relationship. Given the central role friendships have in college-aged individuals’ lives, identifying ways to decrease the difficulty of providing information is necessary. By framing friends’ relational uncertainty conversations as an information management process, the information-provider’s cognitions and emotions are highlighted as factors likely influencing the information provided to friends requesting it to manage their relational uncertainty. In an online survey (N = 367), participants recalled their most recent conversation in which a friend requested information to help manage a romantic relational uncertainty. Results showed participants provided a greater amount, more accurate, and more positively valenced information to friends when participants had positive expected outcomes and greater efficacy assessments. However, anxiety had a small negative effect on expected outcomes, efficacy assessments, and the information provided. In addition to the theoretical contributions, results suggest that helping college-aged individuals focus on the positive outcomes of relational uncertainty conversations and improving their efficacy could help them be better information-providers to friends.


relational uncertainty; friend; information-provider; expected outcomes; efficacy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5964/ijpr.v13i1.327