This study examines an untested research assumption that a key component of supportive communication is active listening. Participants (N = 383) viewed a 5-minute conversation featuring a person who disclosed an emotionally upsetting event to a confederate who provided emotional support that varied in verbal person centeredness (VPC) and nonverbal immediacy (NVI). Participants then evaluated the extent to which the support provider was an active listener. Results showed that helpers who used higher levels of both VPC and NVI were rated as better listeners than those who used less person-centered and immediate support, although effect sizes were small. Results were also dependent on the operationalization of active listening.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Graham D. Bodie is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, The Louisiana State University. Susanne M. Jones is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Preparation of this manuscript was partially supported by a Summer Research Grant awarded to Graham Bodie from the College of Arts & Sciences at LSU. A previous version of this manuscript was awarded Top Conference Paper at the 2011 meeting of the International Listening Association, Johnson City, TN. Correspondence to: Graham D. Bodie, Department of Communication Studies, LSU, 136 Coates Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Active Listening
- Nonverbal Immediacy
- Social Support