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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 22 the next most important aspect of communicative competence, and it thus served as the second covariate in the stepdown analyses; recipient perceptions of helper interest, attentiveness, and involvement would seem to be more critical than perceptions of normativeness in comforting contexts. Thus, normativeness was the final variable considered in these analyses. The initial stepdown analysis examined the main effect of recipient sex. The main effect of sex on normativeness was only marginally significant after controlling for sensitivity and conversational engagement, F (1, 178) = 42.63, p < .11. Univariate analyses did not detect significant main effects for helper sex on any of the three dependent variables (all ps > .12). Thus, although a significant multivariate main effect was observed for this factor, univariate analyses were not useful in further specifying the nature of this effect. Univariate analyses detected significant main effects for VPC on all three of the helper competence dependent variables: sensitivity, F (2, 180) = 27.60, p < .001, 2 = .24; engagement, F (2, 180) = 11.62, p < .001, 2 = .11; and normativeness, F (2, 180) = 15.53 p < .001, 2 = .15. The means for these analyses are depicted in Figure 4, and they clearly indicate that for all three variables, perceived competence increased as a function of the person-centered quality of the messages used by the helper. When sensitivity was entered as our first covariate, the step-down analysis on engagement did not detect a significant main effect for verbal person centeredness, F (2, 179) = 0.59, p > .50, which suggests the redundancy of the engagement assessment in this context. However, when we controlled for both sensitivity and engagement, the step-down analysis on normativeness yielded a significant main effect for VPC, F (2, 178) = 3.17, p < .05, 2 = .03. The adjusted means for normativeness, which are plotted in Figure 5, suggest a curvilinear effect of VPC on recipients’ perception of helper normativeness; moderate displays

Authors: Jones, Susanne. and Burleson, Brant.
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Effects of Helper and Recipient Sex 22
the next most important aspect of communicative competence, and it thus served as the second
covariate in the stepdown analyses; recipient perceptions of helper interest, attentiveness, and
involvement would seem to be more critical than perceptions of normativeness in comforting
contexts. Thus, normativeness was the final variable considered in these analyses.
The initial stepdown analysis examined the main effect of recipient sex. The main effect
of sex on normativeness was only marginally significant after controlling for sensitivity and
conversational engagement, F (1, 178) = 42.63, p < .11.
Univariate analyses did not detect significant main effects for helper sex on any of the
three dependent variables (all ps > .12). Thus, although a significant multivariate main effect
was observed for this factor, univariate analyses were not useful in further specifying the nature
of this effect.
Univariate analyses detected significant main effects for VPC on all three of the helper
competence dependent variables: sensitivity, F (2, 180) = 27.60, p < .001,
2
= .24; engagement,
F (2, 180) = 11.62, p < .001,
2
= .11; and normativeness, F (2, 180) = 15.53 p < .001,
2
= .15.
The means for these analyses are depicted in Figure 4, and they clearly indicate that for all three
variables, perceived competence increased as a function of the person-centered quality of the
messages used by the helper. When sensitivity was entered as our first covariate, the step-down
analysis on engagement did not detect a significant main effect for verbal person centeredness, F
(2, 179) = 0.59, p > .50, which suggests the redundancy of the engagement assessment in this
context. However, when we controlled for both sensitivity and engagement, the step-down
analysis on normativeness yielded a significant main effect for VPC, F (2, 178) = 3.17, p < .05,
2
= .03. The adjusted means for normativeness, which are plotted in Figure 5, suggest a
curvilinear effect of VPC on recipients’ perception of helper normativeness; moderate displays


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