The relational turbulence model: A meta-analytic review

Alan K. Goodboy, San Bolkan, Liesel L. Sharabi, Scott A. Myers, James P. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A series of 27 meta-analyses was conducted to synthesize theoretical predictions, to date, of the relational turbulence model (RTM), which has informed relational turbulence theory (RTT). In line with theorized predictions, 12 random-effects meta-analyses (k = 9-15; n = 1,395-5,493) confirmed that RTM variables (i.e., self uncertainty, partner uncertainty, relationship uncertainty, and partner interference), on average, correlated with topic avoidance, depressive symptoms, and relationship satisfaction. An additional 15 random-effects meta-analyses (k = 4-41; n = 930-8,975) were conducted to pool an average correlation matrix among self uncertainty, partner uncertainty, relationship uncertainty, partner interference, partner facilitation, and relational turbulence. This pooled correlation matrix was used to test a meta-analytic structural equation model of the RTM commonly specified in the literature. Global and local fit statistics indicated the meta-analytic data fit the RTM well. Collectively, these results offer empirical and theoretical evidence for the RTM across nearly 2 decades of research and provide insights for future scholarship guided by the axioms and propositions of RTT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-249
Number of pages28
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Meta-Analysis
  • Meta-Analytic Structural Equation Modeling
  • Relational Turbulence Model
  • Relational Turbulence Theory
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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