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By Daena J. Goldsmith

We regularly flip to our acquaintances, family members, spouses, and companions for assist in dealing with day-by-day tension or significant crises. Daena Goldsmith offers a communication-based process for figuring out why a few conversations approximately difficulties are extra worthwhile than others. not like different study at the social aid procedures, Goldsmith makes a speciality of interpersonal communication--what humans say and the way they are saying it, in addition to their reactions to the conversations. Her stories hide adults of every age and diverse forms of stresses, starting from daily hassles to severe health problems and different significant crises.

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Extra resources for Communicating Social Support (Advances in Personal Relationships)

Sample text

To understand meaningful action, a communication approach problematizes what has been taken for granted in survey measures or the coding of interactions. For example, I seek to identify some of the features of a message or conversation that form the basis for participants’ and researchers’ recognition of actions as instances of support: How do we know an expression of concern or an offer when we see it? And in those instances when it may not be clear whether someone is giving advice or just describing their own past experience, what are ways participants have of attempting to clarify what is occurring?

This source of discrepancy is most likely in studies that solicit reports over a longer time frame. For example, in rating the support provided in the past month, one spouse might focus on a particularly heroic instance of tangible support. If reminded, the forgetful partner might well agree that the support occurred and that it was useful but if she overlooks it in her independent ratings, she might report receiving a lower level of support than her partner reports providing. 4. Social desirability concerns may bias ratings.

We learn to recognize that when someone says “I’m sorry” in response to a description of a problem for which they bear no Conceptualizing Enacted Support as Communication 39 responsibility, they are expressing sympathy with our distress rather than apologizing. Social practices also include evaluative criteria associated with patterns of action. For example, in a study of advice-giving practices among some white, middle-class, college-educated North Americans, Kristine Fitch and I found that advice recipients responded more positively to advice that not only suggested a course of action but also showed caring, concern, and respect for the recipient’s autonomy (Goldsmith & Fitch, 1997).

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