Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

Committee Chair/Advisor

Skye Wingate

Committee Member

Erin Ash

Committee Member

Brandon Boatwright


This study examined past romantic relationship partner break-up strategies (OPBS) and their influence on subsequent romantic relationship conflict strategies (SRCS) through the lens of social cognitive theory (SCT). According to SCT, observed behaviors are modeled by individuals through the mechanisms of attention, retention, motivational process and production. Past research supports the idea that romantic relationship partners and break-ups are likely to be considered important and memorable to an individual, however research has not yet investigated if romantic relationship break-ups could incite observational learning. Break-up strategies and conflict strategies have been conceptualized and evaluated very similarly by past research. Therefore, it stands to reason that OPBS could in fact incite observational learning with the production of the behavior manifesting in SRCS. This investigation of the influence of OPBS on SRCS is novel and will provide insight into the nature of observational learning that may occur from past romantic break-ups. This study also examined relationship commitment and break-up distress as potential moderating variables of OPBS on SRCS. In summation, the goals of this study are three-fold a) determining if observational learning occurs between OPBS and SRCS, b) investigating how the moderating variables of relationship commitment and break-up distress impact the modeling process and c) identifying current trends of college students’ break-up and conflict strategies.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024