Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“Wow! That's Great!”: Correlates of and Variability in Responding Enthusiastically
by Smith, Shannon M., Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2012, 177; 3508566
Abstract (Summary)

Four studies investigated the effect of responding enthusiastically to a romantic partner's good news. Specifically, I hypothesized that 1) favorable feedback would bring about individual and interpersonal benefits; 2a) individual differences would affect the ability to respond enthusiastically; 2b) individual differences would moderate the enthusiasm and benefits relationship; 3) relational motivations would affect enthusiastic responding; and 4) favorable feedback would vary as a function of self-esteem and positive event type (i.e., relationship threatening vs. non-threatening). Participants reported typical feedback to their partner's positive experience in study 1a, whereas study 1b involved hypothetical responses. In study 2, one partner was randomly selected to respond to the other partner's positive event while being primed with 1 of 3 motivational states. Participants in study 3 wrote a hypothetical response to a partner's relationally threatening or non-threatening positive event. Results were mixed for hypothesis 1; participants who responded enthusiastically derived benefits, although there was suggestion that benefits arise simply when hearing about, not necessarily responding to, a partner's positive event. Individual differences did affect enthusiastic responding, as well as moderating the relationship between enthusiasm and personal and relational benefits (hypotheses 2a & 2b). Hypotheses 3 and 4 were not supported; enthusiastic responding did not vary due to relationship motivation or the interaction of self-esteem and positive event type. The discussion relates these results to research on the recipient of enthusiastic feedback, suggests why the current results are important, and focuses on limitations of the studies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Reis, Harry T.
Commitee: Heffner, Kathi, Zuckerman, Miron
School: University of Rochester
Department: School of Arts and Sciences
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology
Keywords: Capitalization, Enthusiasm, Individual differences, Positive events, Responsiveness
Publication Number: 3508566
ISBN: 978-1-267-34302-4
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