Reciprocity and dating: Explaining the effects of favor and status on compliance with a date request

Blake Hendrickson, Ryan Goei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A robust finding in compliance-seeking message effects research is that providing an unsolicited favor to a target before making a direct request for compliance is more effective than a direct request alone. Explaining this effect, however, has proven a more elusive goal. Most existing studies either do not examine potential mediators of the favor-compliance relationship or restrict their focus to one or two potential mediators. In this study, the authors extend compliance research by testing five potential explanations for the favor-compliance relationship and examine the relationship in an untested context, a cross-sex date request. We also examine the impact of another important predictor of compliance, socioeconomic status (SES). Findings suggest that favor and SES interact to affect compliance with a date request and that the positive affective mechanisms of gratitude, liking, and physical attraction best explain these effects. Implications for understanding human reciprocal behavior and its explanatory mechanisms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-608
Number of pages24
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Compliance
  • Date requests
  • Favor
  • Gratitude
  • Indebtedness
  • Liking
  • Pregiving
  • Reciprocity
  • Socioeconomic status


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