Interpersonal Power Repair in Response to Threats to Control from Dependent Others

  • Daphne Blunt Bugental
  • Jeffrey Clayton Lewis
Part of the The Springer Series in Social Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)


The presence of potential social challenge or threat is a ubiquitous process within human experience. However, the reactions to such experiences are as variable as the ways in which they are interpreted. A potential insult may be easily written off and disregarded by one individual but responded to by another as an affront requiring an in-kind response. We suggest here that variations in responses to social challenge reflect differences in the perceived social power or control of interactants. When exposed to situations that pose a potential social challenge, those who see themselves as “power disadvantaged” (having less power or control than others) are likely to engage in defensive activity at both the intra-and interpersonal levels. Such responses are motivated by the perceived need to prevent further erosion of power or to regain power. We are specifically concerned here with the differential responses to loss of control as they occur during the course of interpersonal interaction.


Cognitive Capacity Social Power Abusive Parent Power Assertion Evaluative Feedback 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daphne Blunt Bugental
    • 1
  • Jeffrey Clayton Lewis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyPitzer CollegeClaremontUSA

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