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Effects of Helper and Recipient Sex on the Experience and Outcomes of Comforting Messages: An Experimental Investigation
Unformatted Document Text:  Effects of Helper and Recipient Sex 1 Abstract The purpose of this experimental study was to examine whether and in what ways the sex of the helper and the recipient moderate the effects of comforting messages in face-to-face interactions. A total of 216 participants disclosed an emotionally upsetting event to a confederate trained to display different levels of nonverbal immediacy and verbal person centeredness. Men and women responded very similarly to comforting messages that exhibited different levels of verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy, and this response similarity was not moderated by the sex of the helper. Both men and women were most comforted by messages that exhibited high levels of person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy, and they were least comforted by messages that exhibited low levels of these qualities. Moreover, both sexes viewed highly person-centered and immediate messages as exhibiting the highest comforting quality, and, with one minor exception, both sexes viewed helpers who used these messages as the most competent. Keywords: Emotional support, comforting messages, verbal person centeredness, nonverbal immediacy

Authors: Jones, Susanne. and Burleson, Brant.
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Effects of Helper and Recipient Sex 1
Abstract
The purpose of this experimental study was to examine whether and in what ways the sex of the
helper and the recipient moderate the effects of comforting messages in face-to-face interactions.
A total of 216 participants disclosed an emotionally upsetting event to a confederate trained to
display different levels of nonverbal immediacy and verbal person centeredness. Men and
women responded very similarly to comforting messages that exhibited different levels of verbal
person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy, and this response similarity was not moderated
by the sex of the helper. Both men and women were most comforted by messages that exhibited
high levels of person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy, and they were least comforted by
messages that exhibited low levels of these qualities. Moreover, both sexes viewed highly
person-centered and immediate messages as exhibiting the highest comforting quality, and, with
one minor exception, both sexes viewed helpers who used these messages as the most competent.
Keywords: Emotional support, comforting messages, verbal person centeredness, nonverbal
immediacy


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