Stage Differences in the Dependencies of Topic Initiation and Topic Following Behavior

Terence J. Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


I examined the topic initiation/topic following sequence data from the beginning, middle, and late stages of 16 counseling dyads (a successful and less successful dyad from each of eight counselors). I hypothesized that the beginning, middle, and end of successful counseling would demonstrate different patterns of dependency in the sequence data. Client and counselor topic initiation and topic following behavior was examined by using loglinear analysis to see the extent to which they varied because of the previous behavior of the other participant (interchain dependency), their own previous behavior (intrachain dependency), outcome (determined by a composite of client and counselor evaluations), and stage. Although high interchain dependencies were present for all the clients and counselors, significant variation was related to stage and outcome. Further, both clients and counselors in successful dyads demonstrated significant increases of intrachain dependency in the end stage, but no similar increases were found for either clients or counselors in the less successful dyads. These results are discussed with respect to relationship formation and development, differences in client and counselor role, and implications for future studies on interaction sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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