Transformative Linguistic Styles in Divorce Mediation

Authors: ,


The purpose of this study is to test the influence of the transformative mediation (TM) linguistic markers of empowerment and recognition on mediation outcome. The linguistic structure of the word usage in 20 divorce mediation cases was analyzed with the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count program. Overall empowerment and recognition linguistic markers for husbands and wives were compiled and analyzed to determine the differences in linguistic usage between disputants. While some linguistic markers differed in the hypothesized direction, others remained relatively static. Husbands and wives in settled mediations had higher levels of linguistic synchrony for positive empowerment markers than husbands and wives in unsettled mediations. Findings were partially supportive of the role that language reflective of the TM model plays in helping disputants reach a settlement. The implications of current findings for future research are also discussed.

Keywords: mediation, communication

How to Cite: Donohue, W. & Liang, Y. (2011) “Transformative Linguistic Styles in Divorce Mediation”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research. 4(3). doi: