Scholars of supportive communication are primarily concerned with how variations in the quality of enacted support affect individual and relational health and well-being. But who gets to determine what counts as enacted support? There is a large degree of operational heterogeneity for what gets called enacted support, but little attention has been afforded to the issue of whether these assessments are substitutable. In two studies we use self-reports, conversational partner-reports, and third-party ratings of two quintessential behavioral support indicators, namely, listening and immediacy. Using a multitrait–multimethod (MTMM) design, Study 1 found (1) little association between the enacted support assessments and (2) a high degree of common method variance. A second study found moderate-to-high degrees of effective reliability (i.e., consistency of judgments within a set of judgments, or mean judgments) for enacted support evaluations from the perspective of unacquainted and untrained third-party judges. In general, our data provide cautionary evidence that when scholars examine evaluations of enacted support, perspective matters and might ultimately contribute differently to well-being and health.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Tim Levine for serving as a consultant on Study 1. The authors also would like to thank Jonathan Denham, Michelle Pence, Trey Gibson, Logan Sacco, McCade McDaniel, Elizabeth McKee, Daniel Chapman, Lori Castano, Amanda Legrand, Nickole Hojnowski, Allison O’Neill, Dan Barberio, Billy Boland, and Kristin Carlson for their assistance with various aspects of data collection and coding. This study was supported by a Pilot Funding for New Research (Pfund) grant and a Research Competitiveness Subprogram (RCS) grant, both awarded to Graham D. Bodie from the Louisiana Board of Regents.
© 2014 National Communication Association.
- Active Listening
- Judgment Studies
- Perceived Support
- Social Support