The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication

The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication

The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication

The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication


The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication examines the multifunctional ways in which seemingly productive communication can be destructive--and vice versa--and explores the many ways in which dysfunctional interpersonal communication operates across a variety of personal relationship contexts. This second edition of Brian Spitzberg and William Cupach's classic volume presents new chapters and topics, along with updates of several chapters in the earlier edition, all in the context of surveying the scholarly landscape for new and important avenues of investigation.

Offering much new content, this volume features internationally renowned scholars addressing such compelling topics as uncertainty and secrecy in relationships; the role of negotiating self in cyberspace; criticism and complaints; teasing and bullying; infidelity and relational transgressions; revenge; and adolescent physical aggression toward parents. The chapters are organized thematically and offer a range of perspectives from both junior scholars and seasoned academics. By posing questions at the micro and macro levels, The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication draws closer to a perspective in which the darker sides and brighter sides of human experience are better integrated in theory and research.

Appropriate for scholars, practitioners, and students in communication, social psychology, sociology, counseling, conflict, personal relationships, and related areas, this book is also useful as a text in graduate courses on interpersonal communication, ethics, and other special topics.


A second edition of a book requires a reason, even more so when it emerges from a larger domain of loosely related work that has already found publication. We believe this edition is warranted on several counts. First, some older topics need renewal, and other newer topics and scholars need a forum for their work. Many of the chapters and topics in the first edition were from relatively new scholars or relatively new research topics. Some of these topics have subsequently flourished by evolving in ways that deserve a second look through the lens of the dark side. Other topics have received fair due in the scholarly landscape, and are in less need of reexamination. One of the benefits of edited volumes is their capacity to introduce innovative topics and scholarly voices, as well as to provide a forum in which important programs of research can be summarized. This second edition has provided us an opportunity to take stock of the developments of the topic areas of the first edition in the context of surveying the scholarly landscape for new important scholars and avenues of investigation. In the process, this edition has minimal overlap with the first edition, with only a few authors and a couple of topics repeated. In these few cases, the callback provided an opportunity to reflect the significant evolution of ideas and research that transpired in the interim between the first edition and this one. By being selective in choosing such topics, space was opened for the introduction of new voices and topical excursions.

Second, the dark side approach needs ongoing validation. A new edition allows us to illustrate the organic heurism of “the dark side” as a way of looking at the world. The metaphor has provided us a constantly probative approach, one we view as both renewable and renewing, to conceptualizing and researching topics of human behavior. The viability of the perspective will need revisiting in the contemporaneous context from time to time. To . . .

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