This study is part of a larger program of research concerned with how people evaluate supportive behavior. Past work conducted in our lab found that helper evaluations of supportive listening vary as a function of specific listener behaviors, but the effects of these behaviors were small in magnitude. In this article, we explore one explanation for these small effects, namely, that the impact of listening behaviors on helper evaluations varies as a function of individual communication values. We draw from the dual-process theory of supportive message outcomes to propose that communication values operate to influence individual processing of supportive behavior. Using data from 383 participants asked to watch and evaluate a five-minute recorded comforting conversation, results provide support for the theory. People who place more value on listening as well as theoretically connected communication skills appear more responsive to the presence (or absence) of person-centered behavior.
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