Nagging, in interpersonal communication, is repetitious behavior in the form of pestering, hectoring or otherwise continuous urging an individual to complete previously discussed requests or act on advice.
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.
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 disguises 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 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."
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.
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- Bernstein, Elizabeth. "Meet the Marriage Killer". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- Dean, Edward S. (1964–5), "A Psychotherapeutic Investigation of Nagging", Psychoanalytic Review (51D): 15–21 (subscription required)
- 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)
- "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.
- Concerning nagging women
- Segal, Julia; John Simkins (1996). Helping children with ill or disabled parents: a guide for parents and professionals. Readers Digest. pp. 93–94. Retrieved December 20, 2010.