The Influence of Cognitive Complexity, Empathy, and Mindfulness on Person-Centered Message Evaluations

Lucas J. Youngvorst, Susanne M Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

More than 30 years of research shows that highly person-centered (PC) supportive messages that validate and acknowledge the feelings of others are consistently viewed as more beneficial than less PC-based messages. There are, however, differences in how well people can distinguish high and low PC messages. We argue that the combined influence of motivational factors (i.e., empathy) and cognitive factors (i.e., cognitive complexity, mindfulness) significantly impacts how people process and evaluate support messages that vary in PC. Participants (n = 331) completed a survey, and structural equation modeling analyses revealed that both cognitive complexity and empathy predicted the extent to which people are able to differentiate more and less PC messages. Interestingly and in line with past research, mindfulness directly predicted empathy but not cognitive complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-564
Number of pages16
JournalCommunication Quarterly
Volume65
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 20 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Eastern Communication Association.

Keywords

  • Cognitive Complexity
  • Empathy
  • Mindfulness
  • Person-Centered Support
  • Supportive Communication

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