While our intentions to help people who are feeling sad, upset, or down are generally well-meant, they may often not provide the level of comfort a distressed person needs or wants in a given situation. Specifically, the comfort one desires may depend on other situational factors, such as the level of emotional upset that person is experiencing. This study examined whether, and to what extent, varying levels of emotional distress moderate people’s evaluations of person-centered and invisible support comforting messages. Results of the study suggest that emotional upset does not significantly influence people’s preference for the provision of invisible support or person-centered support. However, across all upset scenarios, messages high in person centeredness facilitated the largest gains in affect improvement, followed by moderate and low person-centered messages. Effectively measuring invisible support continues to be challenging; this study found that participants had difficulty evaluating invisible support comforting responses given the dialectical tension in this type of support.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. June 2012. Major: Communication studies. Advisor:Dr. Susanne Jones. 1 comupter file (PDF); v, 66 pages, appendices A-C.
Janson, Angela Sigl.
The impact of emotional distress on the perceived effectiveness of person-centered and invisible support..
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