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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 11 immediacy. Perceptions of conversational engagement were expected to be especially influenced by the helper’s nonverbal immediacy. It was less clear how perceptions of normativeness might be influenced by verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy, especially in the context of comforting interactions that occurred during an initial interaction episode; comforting interactions typically occur in the context of close relationships (Cunningham & Barbee, 2000; Gottlieb, 1994). However, it seems reasonable to assume that helpers who engage in comforting behaviors that are atypical with respect to gender stereotypes (i.e., high levels of verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy by men and low levels of these attributes by women) will be viewed by recipients as behaving less normatively, and possibly as less sensitively and less engagingly, than helpers whose conduct conforms to gender stereotypes. In sum, the present study examined multiple outcomes of actual comforting interactions and tested the following hypotheses: H1: In the context of actual comforting interactions, sex of the recipient moderates the effects of verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy on the recipient’s (a) affective state and (b) impressions of helper competency. H2: In the context of actual comforting interactions, sex of the helper moderates the effects of verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy on the recipient’s (a) affective state and (b) impressions of helper competency. H3: In the context of actual comforting interactions, sex of the recipient and helper jointly (i.e., interactively) moderate the effects of verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy on the recipient’s (a) affective state and (b) impressions of helper competency.

Authors: Jones, Susanne. and Burleson, Brant.
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Effects of Helper and Recipient Sex 11
immediacy. Perceptions of conversational engagement were expected to be especially
influenced by the helper’s nonverbal immediacy. It was less clear how perceptions of
normativeness might be influenced by verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy,
especially in the context of comforting interactions that occurred during an initial interaction
episode; comforting interactions typically occur in the context of close relationships
(Cunningham & Barbee, 2000; Gottlieb, 1994). However, it seems reasonable to assume that
helpers who engage in comforting behaviors that are atypical with respect to gender stereotypes
(i.e., high levels of verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy by men and low levels
of these attributes by women) will be viewed by recipients as behaving less normatively, and
possibly as less sensitively and less engagingly, than helpers whose conduct conforms to gender
stereotypes.
In sum, the present study examined multiple outcomes of actual comforting interactions
and tested the following hypotheses:
H1:
In the context of actual comforting interactions, sex of the recipient moderates the
effects of verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy on the recipient’s
(a) affective state and (b) impressions of helper competency.
H2:
In the context of actual comforting interactions, sex of the helper moderates the
effects of verbal person centeredness and nonverbal immediacy on the recipient’s
(a) affective state and (b) impressions of helper competency.
H3:
In the context of actual comforting interactions, sex of the recipient and helper
jointly (i.e., interactively) moderate the effects of verbal person centeredness and
nonverbal immediacy on the recipient’s (a) affective state and (b) impressions of
helper competency.


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