The Effect of Anticipated Future Interaction and Initial Impression Valence on Relational Communication in Computer-Mediated Interaction

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computer-mediated communication, predicted outcome value theory, relational communication, social information processing theory

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Prior research on social information processing theory (SIPT; Walther, 1992 Walther , J. B. ( 1992 ). Interpersonal effects in computer-mediated interaction: A relational perspective . Communication Research , 19 , 52 – 90 .[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]) has established the anticipation of future interaction (AFI) as a motivator of online relationship development (Walther, 1994 Walther , J. B. ( 1994 ). Anticipated ongoing interaction versus channel effects on relational communication in computer-mediated interaction . Human Communication Research , 20 , 473 – 501 .[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). The present study tests the proposition that, although initial development may be the product of AFI, continued development occurs as a function of the valence of the impression formed in the initial interaction (Sunnafrank, 1986 Sunnafrank , M. ( 1986 ). Predicted outcome value during initial interactions: A reformulation of uncertainty reduction theory . Human Communication Research , 13 , 3 – 33 .[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). An experiment with a 2 (AFI versus No AFI) × 2 (positive versus negative impression) × 2 (time) design was conducted to assess this proposition along five relational communication dimensions. Results from four of the tests revealed support for the prediction. The implications of the results for SIPT and the study of online relational communication are discussed.

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Communication Studies, v. 58, issue 1, p. 53-70