Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Marshall Prisbell

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Ann Lamanna

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Hilt


This thesis examined the relationship between relational disengagement and reconciliation strategies. The literature review focused on the reasons for disengagement, disengagement theories, disengagement trajectories, disengagement strategies, and reconciliation strategies. The first research question asked if a partner used a direct disengagement strategy, would (s)he use a direct reconciliation strategy? The second research question asked if a partner used an indirect disengagement strategy, would (s)he use an indirect reconciliation strategy? Two hundred undergraduate students were asked to complete a questionnaire containing a hypothetical disengagement scenario and a hypothetical reconciliation scenario. The results indicated a significant, yet, tenuous, relationship between direct/direct strategy use and indirect/indirect strategy use. Results also showed a significant, yet tenuous, relationship between direct/indirect strategy use and indirect/direct strategy use. Discussion, interpretation of results and future issues for research on disengagement and reconciliation strategy selection are explored, especially that of further developing the reconciliation instrument created by the researcher.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Sarah Holmes December, 1997