Explaining How College-Aged Individuals Provide Information to Friends Experiencing Romantic Relational Uncertainty
Tara G. McManus
Department of Communication Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Department of Communication, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA
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.