The affinity-seeking function of communication

Robert A Bell, John A. Daly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


A model of the affinity-seeking function of communication is introduced and explicated. The affinity-seeking construct describes ways people get others to like and feel positive about them. The research is grounded in the presumption that people attempt to generate liking by using various communication strategies. Four questions were addressed in six studies: (1) How do people attempt to generate liking? (2) What is the relationship of affinity-seeking to interpersonal attraction? (3) How do individual differences and situational contingencies constrain affinity-seeking? and (4) What is the multivariate structure of affinity-seeking? An inductively-devised typology of affinity-seeking strategies provided a reliable operationalization of the construct. Affinity-seeking was strongly and positively related to interpersonal attraction, life satisfaction, and social effectiveness. In addition, strategy knowledge and strategy preferences were related to various personality variables and situational contingencies. The final investigation reported in this article identified three dimensions underlying the typology and seven general clusters of strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-115
Number of pages25
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication


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