Book Reviews -- Interpersonal Communication: Evolving Interpersonal Relationships Edited by Pamela J. Kalbfleisch

Article excerpt

Interpersonal Communication: Evolving Interpersonal Relationships. Pamela J. Kalbfleisch (Ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 1993. 302 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-8058-1260-1. $69.95 cloth, $29.95 paper.

This is a book about a variety of issues germane to the study of communication and personal relationships. This is not a theory book, but a compilation of original research in which these various issues are examined. Reading this book is like being at a Top 3 Panel at a convention or conference on interpersonal communication or personal relationships. The only difference is that instead of the Top 3 it is the Top 13. The book incorporates a variety of innovative methodologies, with Kalbfleisch's chapter presenting a particular creative and resourceful technique for gaining insight into best friendships. The book, however, is disappointingly not about the evolution of relationships as the title suggests. Except for a few studies involving retrospective reports (none of the studies are longitudinal) of how relationships change over time (e.g., Bullis et al.'s chapter on turning points in romantic relationships and Bendtschneider and Duck's chapter on the origin of shared friends or "couple friends"), the majority of studies examine the effect of several static independent variables on one or more dependent variables. For example, Koeppel and colleagues examine the effects of sex of initiator, sex of observer, and level of intimacy of interaction on perceptions of flirting in initial interactions. Sharkey examines the effect of sex of embarrassor, sex of embarrassed person, and relationship status on intentional embarrassment. Guerrero and colleagues examine the effect of sex of subject and relationship status on jealousy. Relational status is not used here in an evolutionary sense, but refers to the type of relationship, dating versus marital relationship, and so forth. …