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Supportive Listening

  • By: Graham D. Bodie, Andrea J. Vickery & Kaitlin Cannava
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Listening is recognized as a multidimensional construct that consists of complex (1) cognitive processes, such as attending to, understanding, receiving and interpreting content and relational messages; (2) affective processes, such as being motivated to attend to these messages and holding a positive listening attitude; and (3) behavioral processes, such as responding with verbal and nonverbal feedback (e.g., back-channeling, paraphrasing). Supportive listening is an umbrella term encompassing all three sets of processes within the context of supportive interactions, those that involve the seeking and processing of supportive communication. Supportive interactions present a unique context for the study of listening, and scholars, practitioners, and laypeople alike assert that listening is a key activity in the comforting process.

Supportive listening is the performance of significant cognitive, affective, and behavioral ...

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