The evolution of supportive conversations: Tracking within-discussion changes in support seeking and provision messages

Stephen A. Rains, Anjali Ashtaputre, Katerina Nemcova, Bethany R. Lutovsky, Eric Tsetsi, Corey A. Pavlich, Chelsie Akers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite widespread agreement about the benefits of social support, much remains to be learned about the dynamic nature of supportive communication. We examined the evolution of supportive conversations by investigating changes within support seeking and provision behaviors over the course of a discussion. Across two existing datasets, the results showed that support seekers’ use of approach behaviors, avoidance behaviors, and exonerating justifications varied systematically during conversations. The prevalence of moderate and low person-centered feedback from support providers also varied across the four quartiles of supportive conversations and in conjunction with support seekers’ change in emotional distress. The results collectively offered evidence that supportive conversations are generally organized in a sequence of four phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-505
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication Monographs
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Social support
  • support seeking
  • supportive communication
  • verbal person centeredness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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