College of Communication Master of Arts Theses

Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Sean Horan

Second Advisor

Dr. Leah Bryant


Classroom justice has become a growing concern among instructional communication researchers. When students perceive their instructors are not concerned about justice, they report a host of negative outcomes; however, previous research also suggests that students and instructors have differing perceptions of justice. Further, many instructional communication scholars view the teaching process as having a large relational component. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine what relationships exist among relational teaching messages (rapport, confirmation and affinity-seeking) and classroom justice (distributive, procedural and interactional) and to find whether these relationships are positive or negative. Results indicated that all three relational teaching messages were significantly and positively related to all types of justice. It was further found that enjoyable interaction (a dimension of rapport) and response to questions (a dimension of confirmation) were positive predictors in understanding what most influences students’ perceptions. Additionally, style of teaching (confirmation) was found to be the sole significant, negative predictor for distributive justice, suggesting a potential backlash to relational teaching messages. Additional findings, limitations and future research are discussed.

Included in

Communication Commons