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CAS 497 - The Communication of Social Support

This course focuses on the theory, concepts, and processes related to the communication of social support. A major emphasis is placed on social support from a perspective of interpersonal communication scholarship; however, some sociological and psychological conceptions of social support will also be considered. Areas covered include factors that distinguish multiple types of supportive messages, gender differences in support, multiple contexts for support (e.g., online, face-to-face), theories of supportive communication, and factors that influence people’s ability or motivation to process supportive messages. After that, the course readings concentrate on the most effective ways to communicate comfort, advice, or affection to people coping with personal problems. Upon completion of this course, the student should have knowledge of the complexity of comforting interactions and a better understanding of the research tradition related to this topic.

Professor: Andrew High
Office: 245 Sparks Building
Email: ach208@psu.edu 
Phone: 814.863.3969

Course Objectives

  • To become familiar with the appropriate language and terminology of research on supportive communication.
  • To understand how multiple factors interact to influence people’s perceptions of supportive interactions.
  • To understand how different types of social support are communicated.
  • To gain experience reading social support research from primary sources. 

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