Introduction to Module 4

A woman listening to another person speaking.Overview

This module focuses on different types of interpersonal relationships and how they are formed, maintained, and ended or redefined. We explain some of the major theories grounding the study of interpersonal relationships, such as Altman & Taylor’s Social penetration theory (which helps illustrate the role of disclosure in relationships), Luft and Ingham’s Johari Window, and Baxter’s theory of relational dialectics. Finally, we offer several guidelines for communicating effectively when forming and maintaining healthy relationships, as well as when disengaging, ending, to transforming relationships.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the factors that influence the development of an interpersonal relationship
  2. Explain how communication creates interpersonal relationships and shapes relational climate
  3. Understand the three main relational dialectics and main strategies for managing dialectical tensions
  4. Understand the stages interpersonal relationships
  5. Understand and apply the models of relationship formation (social penetration theory & the Johari window)
  6. Understand the rules for appropriate self-disclosure in different types of interpersonal relationships.
  7. Differentiate among main types of conflict.
  8. Identify different conflict management styles.
  9. Assignments


Chapters 6 & 7 from Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies.

Discussion Question 4

Instructions: Please post your answer to this question, using this link. Do not use attachments. Please write in complete sentences. Be sure to edit, spell check and answer all parts of the question with details, explanations, and examples highlighting the course material and your own insights. Remember – this is your chance to show that you have read, understand, and can apply the course material. Your answer should be at least 200 words in length.

DQ 4: Analyze a relationship that either began or was maintained via the internet. Is the relationship different from those that allow you to interact face to face? Do you agree that computer-mediated communication can breed hyper-personal communication? When online, what kinds of message cues do you rely on to judge interpersonal relationship potential and quality?

Journal 4: My Friend and I

Choose one friend who is different from you. Describe a situation or situations in which you experienced the dialectics discussed in the textbook. (Hint: Think of the ways in which the two of you are both similar and different – age, gender, background, interests, personality, & so on. Think of the ways your relationship has both changed and stayed the same – attitudes, experiences, interests, & so on.)

Submit your paper in the Assignments tool. You will attach the file to the assignment and submit. All papers should be in either Word .doc or .docx format. If you are using another word processor save it as an .rtf file. If you use a Mac, please add the 3-character extension (.doc, .docx).


Take the Module 4 quiz. This quiz covers Chapters 6 & 7 of your textbook. There are 10 multiple choice and 10  true and false questions based on your assigned text readings. You will have 45 minutes to complete the quiz, and you may take the quiz twice. The higher of your two scores will be recorded as your grade.