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ERIC Number: EJ950748
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISSN: ISSN-0361-6843
Women Support Providers Are More Susceptible than Men to Emotional Contagion Following Brief Supportive Interactions
Magen, Eran; Konasewich, Paul A.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, v35 n4 p611-616 Dec 2011
People in distress often turn to friends for emotional support. Ironically, although receiving emotional support contributes to emotional and physical health, providing emotional support may be distressing as a result of emotional contagion. Women have been found to be more susceptible than men to emotional contagion in certain contexts, but no studies examined the context of providing support to a troubled friend in a naturalistic setting. Our exploratory study aimed to test for gender differences in emotional contagion as a result of offering emotional support to a troubled friend. We studied naturalistic informal supportive interactions among 48 pairs of friends. Following an 8-min interaction with a troubled friend, (a) women were more likely than men to experience a deterioration in their positive emotional state and (b) changes in women's emotional state were positively correlated with changes in their troubled friends' emotional state, whereas changes in male support providers' emotional state were unrelated to changes in their troubled friends' emotional state. These results suggest that women are more susceptible than men to emotional contagion following brief interactions with a troubled friend, thereby highlighting the importance of conducting additional research into the costs and benefits of exchanging emotional support among friends. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A