Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Sheree D. Conrad

Second Advisor

Ester R. Shapiro

Third Advisor

Laurel D. Wainwright


This pilot study was the second part of a program of research designed to address a dearth of literature on nonviolence in communication and the lack of a valid measure of the expression of nonviolence in communication. This study used qualitative responses to a single scenario portraying a conflict situation between intimate partners to develop a coding scheme to measure the expression of nonviolence in communication. A diverse sample of 247 undergraduates at an urban, public university completed questionnaire measures of physical and mental health {Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36, Ware & Sherbourne) and Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; Watson & Clark, 1988)}, the expression of nonviolence in communication {Elements of Nonviolent Communication Inventory (ENVCI; Young, 2008)}, and nonviolent predisposition {the Nonviolence Test (NVT; Kool & Sen, 1984)}.

This exploratory study found support for elements of two models of the expression of nonviolence in communication, the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) model, comprised of ten communication acts that specify the content of communication (what one communicates), and the Intensity/Tone model (how one communicates), in distinguishing between Nonviolent and Conventional [Violent] communication as distinct continua. This distinction provides support for the study of nonviolence, and nonviolence in communication, as more than simply the absence of violence. The results of this study provide a promising foundation for further use, investigation, and possibly refinement of a coding system for the expression of nonviolence in communication. Findings also suggest that those with a greater propensity towards nonviolence use more intensely positive, or “alive”, communications. Moreover, this propensity towards nonviolence in predisposition and in verbal communication has some ability to predict differences in mental health (more positive affect and less negative affect).


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