Emerging adults’ sibling relationships and inter-sibling communication : general communication patterns and chronemic expectation violation in a text-based interaction

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Huang, Qing, M.A.

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Given the lack of knowledge on text-based communication between emerging adult siblings, this study was conducted to examine siblings’ general communication patterns and observe their online interaction on a text-based real-time chat platform: A dyadic conversation about choosing a gift for a family member. Based on the self-report data from 147 undergraduate students, the current study explored how three dimensions of sibling relationships (warmth, conflict, and rivalry) were related to general communication patterns and geographic distance. Under the frameworks of Expectancy Violation Theory and Social Information Processing Theory, this study further explored the association between the three dimensions of sibling relationships and perceived chronemic expectation violation. In 39 sibling dyads who engaged in an online chat, participants’ sibling was required to delay each of their responses for 40s during the interaction. Among the 26 participants who noticed the delay, violation importance and valence were positively related to positive affect towards their sibling’s response latency, while violation expectedness and valence were negatively related to negative affect towards their sibling’s response latency. Sibling warmth was negatively related to violation expectedness. This study also examined the influence of attributions and previous communication patterns during this inter-sibling interaction: Attributions (personal characteristics/internal vs. context/external) mediated the correlation between sibling warmth and violation expectedness, and text frequency was positively related to sibling warmth and negatively associated with violation valence.


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