Affectionate behavior in adult platonic friendships: Interpreting and evaluating expectancy violations

Kory Floyd, Michael Voloudakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Affection is a central component of communicative processes in close personal relationships. Despite its importance, however, individuals expressing affection can incur a number of interpersonal risks, especially in nonromantic relationships where opportunities for misattribution on the part of the recipient may be high. Therefore, it is important to understand individuals' expectations for the kind and intensity of affectionate behavior they anticipate in their personal relationships. Although extant research has identified a number of influences on expectancies for affection, this study extends existing knowledge by examining how individuals react to expectancy-violating changes in affectionate behavior. An experiment involving 40 pairs of adult platonicfriends revealed that unexpected changes in affectionate involvement produce changes in cognitive assessments and behavioral reactions on the part of the recipient, and that violative situations are differentially valenced according to the direction of change in affectionate involvement. These findings are interpreted as support for the tenets of expectancy violations theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-369
Number of pages29
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language

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