Patterns of Nonverbal Adaptation in Supportive Interactions

Graham D. Bodie, Kaitlin E. Cannava, Andrea J. Vickery, Susanne M. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study seeks initial evidence for the patterns of nonverbal adaptation predictive of emotional improvement after a troubles talk conversation. A total of 128 dyads composed of two unacquainted individuals engaged in a 5-minute conversation about a stressful event, and the nonverbal behaviors of both the supportive listener and discloser were coded for immediacy. We detected a general pattern of matching between interlocutors, which was positively associated with disclosers’ reported emotional improvement above and beyond listener immediacy. Importantly, we found primary support for a discloser-matching model whereby emotional improvement is a function of disclosers matching highly immediate listeners but no support for a listener-matching model whereby emotional improvement is a function of listeners matching disclosers to signal empathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a Pilot Funding for New Research (Pfund) grant and a Research Competitiveness Subprogram (RCS) grant, both awarded to Graham Bodie from the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Central States Communication Association.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Comforting
  • Matching
  • Mimicry
  • Social Support
  • Supportive Communication


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