Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Southern Communication Journal 78:4 (September–October 2013), pp. 326–351.

doi: 10.1080/1041794X.2013.815264


Copyright © 2013 Southern States Communication Association; published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis. Used by permission.


Perspective-taking has important connections to social and relational functioning, making it an important skill for marital adjustment (Long & Andrews, 1990). The current study investigated the types of behaviors indicative of communicated perspective-taking from the participant perspective as couples told stories of stressful relational events. Using a stimulated recall procedure, 68 husband and wife pairs jointly told the story of a stressful relational experience and then separately viewed their videotaped interaction and evaluated their spouses’ perspective-taking behaviors. Agreement, attentiveness, relevant contributions, coordination, positive tone, and freedom represented the categories of behaviors spouses judged to reflect perspective-taking. In contrast, disagreement, inattentiveness, irrelevant contributions, lack of coordination, negative tone, and constraint all emerged as categories of behaviors lacking in perspective-taking. Findings also indicated that disagreement, attentiveness, inattentiveness, negative tone, coordination, lack of coordination, and constraint were significantly related to general judgments of perspective-taking for husbands. For wives, on the other hand, disagreement, inattentiveness, irrelevant contributions, and constraint were the only significant negative correlates of general perspective-taking judgments.