Nagging, in interpersonal communication, is repetitious behaviour in the form of pestering, hectoring or otherwise continuously urging an individual to complete previously discussed requests or act on advice. A form of persistent persuasion that is more repetitive rather than aggressive.
According to the Wall Street Journal, nagging is "the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed". Thus, nagging is an interaction to which each party contributes.
According to Kari P. Soule "That Interpersonal ritual is nagging. Yet, the term nagging seldom appears in interpersonal communication or conflict textbooks. It appears that "nagging" is commonly used in everyday conversation but it rarely makes it to academic print".
The word is derived from the Scandinavian nagga, which means "to gnaw".
Nagging by spouses is a frequent marital complaint. Psychotherapists such as Edward S. Dean have reported that individuals who nag are often "weak, insecure, and fearful ... their nagging disguise a basic feeling of weakness and provides an illusion of power and superiority". Nagging is sometimes used by spouses of alcoholics as one of several "drinking control efforts", but it is often unproductive. Psychologically, nagging can act to reinforce behavior. A study by the University of Florida found the main factors that lead a person to nag are differences in "gender, social distance, and social status and power". Nagging has been found to attributed to be more of a feminine form of interpersonal communication rather than masculine. Nagging is often seen as at repetitious form of persuasion rather resorting to more aggressive persuasion tactics in order to gain compliance. Which was found in a study by Kari P. Soule (Ph. D., Communication Studies)--Northwestern University of 63 females and 40 males aged 19 and one of 202 people aged 24 to 84-49. An equal number of men and women nag; however, studies have shown that women are more likely to nag both men and women, while men are more likely to nag only men. Meaning women nag all people, which can be attributed to the reason why women are stereotyped as nagging people all the time.
Nagging can be found between both male and female spouses, though usually over different subjects, according to a Good Housekeeping article which described husbands' nagging as usually involving finding "fault with their dinner, with the household bills [and] with the children", along with "carry[ing] home the worries of business." It has been found that behavioural noncompliance is more common among spouses. Behavioural noncompliance referrers to when person whom is being nagged remains silent while being nagged or who agrees to complete the request, but later does not follow through. This is strategy in order to end the confrontation or interaction quickly without conflict, which is why it is common among spouses or partners. As the nagging interaction that starts out in a calm and polite manner which continues and persuader becomes more repetitive, the interaction is more likely to become aggressive in nature. The persuasive target could also respond in a more direct fashion through the tactic of verbal noncompliance. Verbal noncompliance refers to when the persuasive target telling a persuader through word that they will not comply. An example of verbal noncompliance could be a simple no, or I am too busy right now more even more elaborate response. This tactic does end the nagging interaction more rapidly; however it can cause a more aggressive response from the persuader who may alter persistent persuasion to threats or another aggressive form of persuasion.
Parental and child nagging
In terms of parental nagging of children, a study at Washington State University in 1959 stated that this nagging was a "symptom of the rejection of the child" because of the way that children interfere with the parents' "individual needs and aspirations" with their requirements of "time and energy". According to James U. McNeal in his 1992 book Kids as Customers, there are seven classifications of juvenile nagging, wherein children nag their parents to obtain something they desire.
The interpersonal interaction
Nagging as a form of interpersonal communication is considered to be a form of persistent persuasion that requires a persuader and a persuasive target. The interaction can be broken down into a 4 step interaction process according to Martin A Kozloff A researcher whom has identified in his work the four main steps of the nagging . The 4 steps in the interaction are as follows:
- Nagger gives signal to perform or stop performing a task or behaviour.
- Naggee does not comply to request from the nagger.
- In response the nagger repeats their request or signal in further effort to gain compliance.
- The Naggee again responds with non-compliance
Kazloff argues that this interaction cycle continues until the Naggee complies to the Nagger’s request or the nagger gives up the attempt to persuade the Naggee. Kozloff also identifies other important aspects of the persistent persuasion such as non-compliance is necessary for the persuader to be persistent and the persuader will often change the initial requests words and Paralinguistic cues as a strategic tactic. This will hopefully entices the persuasive target into complying with the request. Nagging a very common form of persuasion which is used in all aspects of life whether domestic, professional it is common practice in order to avoid more aggressive persuasive tactics like threats.
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- Bernstein, Elizabeth. "Meet the Marriage Killer". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- Galvin, Kathleen (2011). Making Connections. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 193.
- Dean, Edward S. (1964–5), "A Psychotherapeutic Investigation of Nagging", Psychoanalytic Review (51D): 15–21 Check date values in:
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- Yoshioka, Marianne R.; Thomas, Edwin J.; Ager, Richard D. (1992), "Nagging and other drinking control efforts of spouses of uncooperative alcohol abusers: Assessment and modification", Journal of Substance Abuse 4 (3): 309–318, doi:10.1016/0899-3289(92)90038-Y
- Meyers, Robert J.; Wolfe, Brenda L (2003), Get your loved one sober: alternatives to nagging, pleading, and threatening, Hazelden Publishing, ISBN 1-59285-081-2
- Boxer, Diana (2002), "Nagging: The familial conflict arena", Journal of Pragmatics (Elsevier) 34 (1): 49–61, doi:10.1016/S0378-2166(01)00022-4, retrieved December 20, 2010 (subscription required)
- Soule, Kari (2011). The What, When, Who and Why of Nagging in Interpersonal Relationships. New York: Oxford University Press.
- "The Nagging Man". Good Housekeeping (Hearst Corporation) 26: 164. 1897. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
- Ellis, David; Ivan Nyet, F. Ivan (1959), "The Nagging Parent", The Family Life Coordinator: 8, retrieved December 20, 2010 (subscription required)
- Schlosser, Eric (2001). Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Volume 1000. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 44. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
- Kozloff, Martin A. (1988). Productive interactions with students, children and clients. Springfield.
- Concerning nagging women
- Segal, Julia; Simkins, John (1996). Helping children with ill or disabled parents: a guide for parents and professionals. Readers Digest. pp. 93–94. Retrieved December 20, 2010.