Undergraduate students were randomly assigned to disclose a recent upsetting problem to either a trained active listener (n = 41) or an untrained listener (n = 130). Active listeners were trained to ask open questions, paraphrase content, reflect feelings, and use assumption checking as well as be nonverbally immediate. Verbal and nonverbal active listening behaviors were rated as signaling more emotional awareness and promoting a greater degree of emotional improvement but did not affect perceptions of relational assurance or problem-solving utility. On average, the set of verbal behaviors were more important in the prediction of outcomes compared to the nonverbal behaviors. Results contribute to the larger literature on enacted support, suggesting particular roles for active listening techniques within troubles talk.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Louisiana Board of Regents through the Board of Regents Support Fund (Grant # LEQSF[2011-14]-RD-A-04).
© Western States Communication Association.
- Emotional Support
- Supportive Listening