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CAS 597 - Special Topic: Communication and Social Support

This course surveys theory and research addressing the connection between communication and social support. Topics will include historical and contemporary interdisciplinary perspectives on social support; relationships between social support, stress and health; communication as enacted social support, key forms of supportive communication (e.g., emotional/comforting, informational/advising); support-seeking, supportive interactions, and supportive relationships; predictors and outcomes of effective supportive communication; and methods for studying social support as a communication scholar. Attention will also be given to positive communication behavior that may build and maintain supportive relationships, including praise, gratitude, forgiveness, and celebratory support.

Professor: Erina MacGeorge
Office: 221 Sparks
Email: elm26@psu.edu 

Course Objectives

  • Understand “supportive communication” in the context of a huge, multidisciplinary research literature on social support, and explore your own scholarly identity in this context
  • Review theory and research on supportive messages, interactions, and relationships, developing your skills at critique and synthesis
  • Propose a viable research project that connects supportive communication with theoretical questions, research methods, practical problems, and populations that interest you
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