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Determinants of support provision : interaction of provider and recipient factors Trobst, Krista Kornelia 1991

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DETERMINANTS  O F SUPPORT AND  PROVISION:  RECIPIENT  INTERACTION  OF  PROVIDER  FACTORS,  by KRISTA  B.A., A  THESIS THE  KORNELIA  TROBST  The U n i v e r s i t y o f Calgary, 1989 SUBMITTED  I N PARTIAL  REQUIREMENTS MASTER  FULFILLMENT  FOR T H E DEGREE OF  O F  ARTS  in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department o f Psychology)  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the r e q u i r e d standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA J u l y 1991 (S) K r i s t a K o r n e l i a T r o b s t , 1991  OF  in  presenting  degree  this  at the  thesis  in  partial  University of  fulfilment  British Columbia,  of  the  requirements  for  an  advanced  I agree that the Library shall make it  freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying  of  department  this or  thesis by  for scholarly  his  or  publication of this thesis  her  Psychology  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  A u g u s t 22, 1991  may  representatives.  It  be is  granted  by the head of  understood  that  for financial gain shall not be allowed without  permission.  Department of  purposes  copying  my or  my written  Abstract L i t t l e r e s e a r c h has examined the determinants of support provision.  T h i s study assessed the importance  empathy, p r o v i d e r gender, r e c i p i e n t gender, and  of p r o v i d e r recipient  expressed d i s t r e s s i n i n f l u e n c i n g s u p p o r t i v e n e s s .  The  study  made use of a 2 X 2 (gender of coper by d i s t r e s s of coper) between s u b j e c t s d e s i g n , w i t h l e v e l of empathy and gender of s u b j e c t as i n t e r n a l f a c t o r s . undergraduates  completed  Eighty-one male and 84  a measure of d i s p o s i t i o n a l empathy  and watched a v i d e o t a p e of a h i g h o r low emotion, female coper.  female  male or  Respondents then i n d i c a t e d v i a q u e s t i o n n a i r e  responses, t h e i r r e a c t i o n s t o the coper and the amounts and k i n d s of support they would be w i l l i n g t o p r o v i d e .  Subjects  were then asked t o v o l u n t e e r t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r t o the coper.  As p r e d i c t e d , r e s u l t s i n d i c a t e d a p o s i t i v e  a s s o c i a t i o n between s u p p o r t i v e n e s s and empathy.  Also  consistent with p r e d i c t i o n s , greater supportiveness evidenced among women than among men, p o r t i o n of t h i s tendency was d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathy.  was  and a s i g n i f i c a n t  a t t r i b u t a b l e t o gender  In g e n e r a l , no d i f f e r e n c e s were  found i n s u p p o r t i v e n e s s as a f u n c t i o n of the gender of the coper.  L a s t , h i g h d i s t r e s s copers were l i k e d more, and were  p e r c e i v e d as needing more support than low d i s t r e s s copers. In t u r n , p a r t i c i p a n t s i n d i c a t e d a g r e a t e r w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support t o h i g h emotion copers.  iii TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  i i  L i s t of T a b l e s  ,  v  L i s t of F i g u r e s  vi  Acknowledgements  vii  Introduction  1  P r o v i d e r Empathy  1  P r o v i d e r Gender  7  R e c i p i e n t Gender  9  R e c i p i e n t ' s Expressed D i s t r e s s The Present  11  Study  14  Method  16  Overview  16  Subjects  16  Materials  17  Procedure  18  Dependent Measures  20  I.  S t a t e Empathy  II.  Perceptions  20  o f the Coping P o r t r a y a l  ...  20  III. Situation  21  IV.  Attractiveness  21  V.  Appropriateness  22  VI.  General Supportive  VII. Hypothetical IX. Debriefing  Behavioral  Intentions  Support  Intent  22 22 23 25  iv Results  25  M a n i p u l a t i o n Check  25  P r e l i m i n a r y Analyses  26  I.  Support  26  II.  Empathy  28  Main Hypotheses I.  P r o v i d e r Empathy  29  II.  P r o v i d e r Gender  32  I I I . R e c i p i e n t Gender  34  IV.  35  R e c i p i e n t ' s Expressed D i s t r e s s  Model T e s t i n g Discussion Conclusion References  29  .  38 40 48 50  LIST OF TABLES  I n t e r / c o r r e l a t i o n s between empathy and support measures  LIST OF FIGURES  P r e d i c t e d model of a s s o c i a t i o n between variables Obtained model of a s s o c i a t i o n between variables  vii  Acknowledgements I would l i k e t o express my g r a t i t u d e t o the many i n d i v i d u a l s whose support and a s s i s t a n c e made completion o f this thesis possible.  I would l i k e t o thank Rebecca C o l l i n s  f o r s h a r i n g h e r knowledge and p r o v i d i n g encouragement f a r beyond t h e requirements i n her j o b d e s c r i p t i o n .  In  a d d i t i o n , I g i v e thanks t o t h e other members o f my committee, D a r r i n Lehman and Delroy i n v a l u a b l e i n s i g h t and I am indebted  Paulhus, f o r t h e i r  suggestions.  t o the a c t o r s , Missy C h r i s t e n s e n ,  Jason  Dedrick, Sean Hayes, and E l a i n e S t o f f e r McKay whose i n c r e d i b l e t a l e n t was p o r t r a y e d t h i s study.  i n the v i d e o t a p e s used i n  A l s o , I would l i k e t o thank t h e r e s e a r c h  a s s i s t a n t s , M a l i b i k a Das, Jayne Embree, Sherry Relph, and Monika Tymofievich, experiment  f o r a s s i s t i n g i n the running o f the  sessions.  My deepest thanks t o Ken Hemphill f o r being my r o l e model and p r o v i d i n g me w i t h a secure base through h i s l o v e , patience, colleague,  and wisdom.  S p e c i a l thanks t o my f r i e n d ,  and o f f i c e mate, l i a n a Katz f o r c o n t i n u a l l y  p r o v i d i n g support, i n s i g h t , and d i s t r a c t i o n s as o n l y a cohort  could.  A l s o , a h e a r t f e l t thank you t o my  life-long  f r i e n d Marcee P l a t z - P e t e r s whose sense o f humor has kept me sane. I would a l s o l i k e t o thank my mother whose unconditional have continued  l o v e and unwavering b e l i e f i n my  abilities  t o encourage me years a f t e r her p a s s i n g .  In  a d d i t i o n , I would l i k e t o express thanks t o my f a t h e r f o r i n s t i l l i n g i n me t h e b e l i e f t h a t t h e r e are no o b s t a c l e s hard work cannot overcome.  that  L a s t l y , I would l i k e t o thank my  dear f r i e n d s , F e r l i n Boyer and Karen Braun, f o r b e l i e v i n g , "without a doubt, t h a t I c o u l d move a mountain" and being there  "to t e l l  i t to".  1 Introduction A g r e a t d e a l of r e s e a r c h has demonstrated the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of s o c i a l support i n a l l e v i a t i n g the s t r e s s experienced by v i c t i m s of n e g a t i v e l i f e W i l l s , 1985;  Dunkel-Schetter,  Umberson, 1988;  (Cohen &  House, L a n d i s , &  S c h u l t z & Decker, 1985).  r e s e a r c h has been conducted its  1984;  events  However,  little  r e g a r d i n g the determinants  of  provision. T h i s study w i l l i n v e s t i g a t e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of support  p r o v i d e r s and r e c i p i e n t s , two v a r i a b l e s l i k e l y t o i n f l u e n c e support p r o v i s i o n (Dunkel-Schetter & Skokan, 1990). S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h i s study w i l l attempt importance  t o assess the  of p r o v i d e r empathy and p r o v i d e r gender i n  determining r e a c t i o n s t o an i n d i v i d u a l e x p e r i e n c i n g d i f f i c u l t i e s coping.  In a d d i t i o n , the gender and  e m o t i o n a l i t y of the r e c i p i e n t w i l l be c o n s i d e r e d as important determinants  of p r o v i d e r s ' r e a c t i o n s and  their  subsequent w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support. P r o v i d e r Empathy The a b i l i t y of support p r o v i d e r s t o empathize w i t h another i s l i k e l y t o i n f l u e n c e t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support.  While t h e r e i s a g r e a t d e a l of debate as t o the  exact d e f i n i t i o n of empathy, the term, i n i t s most g e n e r a l sense, r e f e r s t o the r e a c t i o n s of one observed  experiences of another  i n d i v i d u a l t o the  (Davis, 1983a).  These  r e a c t i o n s , when they take the form of concern f o r another's p l i g h t , are l i k e l y t o motivate observers t o take a c t i o n so  2 that personal  f e e l i n g s of concern and  u n f o r t u n a t e o t h e r s may  be  the d i s t r e s s of  reduced.  Both s t a t e (e.g. Aderman, & Berkowitz, 1970; Dovidio, 1982)  and  S i b i c k y , Matthews & A l l e n , 1988; trait  Schroeder,  T o i & Batson,  (e.g. Archer, D i a z - L o v i n g , G o l l w i t z e r ,  Davis, & Foushee, 1981;  Davis, 1983b&c; E i s e n b e r g , M i l l e r ,  S c h a l l e r , Fabes, F u l t z , S h e l l , & Shea, 1989)  empathy have  been examined as determinants of help p r o v i s i o n i n emergency situations. relation  In g e n e r a l ,  f i n d i n g s suggest a p o s i t i v e  (Batson, Darley, & Coke, 1978), and  in a  recent  m e t a - a n a l y s i s of the e x i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e , E i s e n b e r g Miller  (1987) found low  between empathy and  and  t o moderate p o s i t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n s  p r o s o c i a l behavior.  In a d d i t i o n t o making a d i s t i n c t i o n between s t a t e t r a i t measures of empathy, r e s e a r c h e r s between empathy's a f f e c t i v e and  and  have d i s t i n g u i s h e d  c o g n i t i v e components.  A  m u l t i d i m e n s i o n a l measure of i n d i v i d u a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathy t h a t i n c o r p o r a t e s (1980). 1980)  The  Interpersonal  both has  R e a c t i v i t y Index (IRI;  includes a discriminable  a f f e c t i v e measures (Davis, Perspective-Taking the p s y c h o l o g i c a l Concern (EC)  (PT)  been c o n s t r u c t e d  s c a l e assesses the tendency t o adopt  s c a l e assesses " o t h e r - o r i e n t e d " The  Personal D i s t r e s s  measures " s e l f - o r i e n t e d " f e e l i n g s of a n x i e t y The  and  D a v i s ' (1980)  p o i n t of view of o t h e r s .  sympathy o r concern.  Davis  Davis,  s e t of f o u r c o g n i t i v e  1980).  by  The  Empathic  f e e l i n g s of (PD) and  scale unease.  f o u r t h , Fantasy (FS) s c a l e , measures the t e n d e n c i e s of  3 i n d i v i d u a l s t o imagine themselves  as t h e f i c t i t i o u s  c h a r a c t e r s i n movies and books. Two  s t u d i e s have examined t h e r e l a t i o n between D a v i s '  d i s p o s i t i o n a l subtypes o f empathy and p r o s o c i a l b e h a v i o r . In one study, Davis (1983b) examined t h e w i l l i n g n e s s of students t o p r o v i d e t a n g i b l e s o c i a l support ( i . e . babysitting,  doing chores, and p r o v i d i n g t r a n s p o r t a t i o n ) t o a  woman who was l e f t with t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f c a r i n g f o r h e r younger s i b l i n g s a f t e r h e r parents were k i l l e d i n an accident.  Results indicated that i n d i v i d u a l s high i n  p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s (PD) were l e s s l i k e l y t o o f f e r support than those low i n p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s .  Empathic concern  however, was p o s i t i v e l y r e l a t e d t o support p r o v i s i o n .  (EC), The  f i n d i n g s w i t h regard t o p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g (PT) were mixed, i n d i c a t i n g a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n with h e l p i n g when s u b j e c t s were i n s t r u c t e d t o take t h e p e r s p e c t i v e o f t h e woman, and no r e l a t i o n w i t h h e l p i n g when s u b j e c t s were simply  instructed  to observe t h e woman. In another study, Davis (1983c) examined t h e e f f e c t s o f empathic  p r e d i s p o s i t i o n s i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e annual  dystrophy t e l e t h o n .  muscular  The tendency t o view and c o n t r i b u t e t o  the t e l e t h o n was s i g n i f i c a n t l y , and p o s i t i v e l y , r e l a t e d t o empathic  concern, and was u n r e l a t e d t o p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g  and p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s . A number o f s t u d i e s have examined s t a t e measures o f empathy p a r a l l e l t o D a v i s ' d i s p o s i t i o n a l subtypes  (Batson,  Duncan, Ackerman, Buckley, & B i r c h , 1981; Coke, Batson, &  4  McDavis, 1978; L i e b h a r t , 1972; Schroeder, e t a l . , & Batson, 1982).  1988; T o i  Batson and h i s c o l l e a g u e s (Batson, O'Quin,  F u l t z , Vanderplas, & Isen, 1983) proposed t h a t  empathic  concern l e a d s t o an a l t r u i s t i c m o t i v a t i o n t o reduce the d i s t r e s s o f another, whereas p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s leads t o an e g o i s t i c m o t i v a t i o n t o reduce one's own d i s t r e s s . Q u e s t i o n n a i r e measures r e f l e c t i n g these two dimensions were o b t a i n e d from s u b j e c t s a f t e r exposure t o a same-sex v i c t i m . Ease o f escape from t h e s i t u a t i o n was v a r i e d , and w i l l i n g n e s s t o h e l p was then a s s e s s e d .  Results indicated  t h a t s u b j e c t s h i g h i n p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s were l i k e l y t o h e l p o n l y when i t was d i f f i c u l t t o escape from t h e s i t u a t i o n .  In  c o n t r a s t , s u b j e c t s e x p e r i e n c i n g a predominance o f empathic concern were as l i k e l y t o h e l p when escape was easy as when i t was d i f f i c u l t  (Batson, e t a l . ,  1983).  These f i n d i n g s l e a d Batson t o conclude t h a t  individuals  h i g h i n empathic concern a r e a l t r u i s t i c a l l y motivated t o reduce the d i s t r e s s o f o t h e r s , and t h e r e f o r e demonstrate high l e v e l s of helping across s i t u a t i o n s .  High p e r s o n a l  d i s t r e s s i n d i v i d u a l s , on t h e o t h e r hand, a r e e g o i s t i c a l l y motivated t o reduce t h e i r own d i s t r e s s , and t h e r e f o r e p r o v i d e a l a r g e amount o f a i d o n l y i n s i t u a t i o n s where escape from t h e source o f d i s t r e s s i s d i f f i c u l t .  There has  been some debate c o n c e r n i n g t h e v a l i d i t y o f Batson's paradigm w i t h some s t u d i e s showing e f f e c t s f o r empathic concern ( E i s e n b e r g , e t a l . , et a l . ,  1989) and o t h e r s n o t ( C i a l d i n i ,  1987; S c h a l l e r & C i a l d i n i , 1988). Nonetheless,  5  p r o s o c i a l behavior  appears t o be more c o n s i s t e n t l y  a s s o c i a t e d with high l e v e l s of empathic concern than with personal the  d i s t r e s s , and  i s sometimes n e g a t i v e l y r e l a t e d t o  latter. The  l i t e r a t u r e examining the r e l a t i o n between  p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g and h e l p i n g behavior noted, two  i s mixed.  As  just  s t u d i e s found l i t t l e r e l a t i o n between p e r s p e c t i v e  t a k i n g and h e l p i n g  (Davis, 1983b&c).  Perspective  taking  i n c r e a s e d h e l p i n g o n l y i n the i n s t a n c e where p a r t i c i p a n t s r e c e i v e d i n s t r u c t i o n s t o take the p e r s p e c t i v e of the v i c t i m . However, Underwood and Moore's (1982) meta-analysis found a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n between p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g and h e l p i n g i n s t u d i e s u s i n g c h i l d r e n as s u b j e c t s .  They argue t h a t  p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g (awareness of another's unpleasant a f f e c t i v e s t a t e ) causes a s h a r i n g of t h a t s t a t e and a motive t o decrease the other's d i s t r e s s . p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g may  T h i s suggests t h a t  a c t u a l l y i n c r e a s e one's tendency t o  experience  empathic concern, r a t h e r than a f f e c t i n g h e l p i n g  directly.  A study examining the r e l a t i o n between h e l p i n g  behavior support i t was  and p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g among a d u l t s has f o r t h i s notion  (Coke, e t a l . , 1978).  found  Specifically,  found t h a t i n s t r u c t i o n s t o take the p e r s p e c t i v e  of  the i n d i v i d u a l i n need l e d t o an i n c r e a s e i n the l e v e l of empathic emotion r e p o r t e d .  In t u r n , t h i s i n c r e a s e i n  empathy corresponded with an i n c r e a s e i n m o t i v a t i o n the o t h e r ' s need reduced.  to  see  6  In s h o r t , empathy i n i t ' s most g e n e r a l sense has been found t o be s t r o n g l y a s s o c i a t e d with h e l p i n g b e h a v i o r . the empathy subtypes proposed by Davis  Of  (1980) the best  p r e d i c t o r o f w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e a s s i s t a n c e appears t o be empathic concern.  The r e l a t i o n between p e r s o n a l  distress  and h e l p f u l n e s s , on the o t h e r hand, i s l e s s c l e a r , with some s t u d i e s r e p o r t i n g a n e g a t i v e a s s o c i a t i o n (e.g. Davis,  1983b)  and o t h e r s i n d i c a t i n g t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s e x p e r i e n c i n g a preponderance o f p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s a r e more l i k e l y t o h e l p when escape from the s i t u a t i o n i s d i f f i c u l t (Batson, e t a l . , 1983).  P e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g i s a l s o l i k e l y t o be a s s o c i a t e d  with support p r o v i s i o n , but the e f f e c t i s probably to  limited  i t s a b i l i t y t o i n c r e a s e an i n d i v i d u a l ' s tendency t o  experience  empathic  concern.  While a g r e a t d e a l o f r e s e a r c h has examined the importance o f empathy i n p r e d i c t i n g p r o s o c i a l behavior, experiments have g e n e r a l l y focused on h e l p i n g  behavior  p r o v i d e d t o a s t r a n g e r i n an emergency s i t u a t i o n .  Although  some s t u d i e s have made use o f paradigms approximating  social  s u p p o r t - l i k e s i t u a t i o n s , empathy has not been c o n s i d e r e d i n support r e s e a r c h per s e . While i t i s expected  t h a t t h e a s s o c i a t i o n between  empathy and s o c i a l support w i l l c l o s e l y p a r a l l e l the empathy/helping behavior unresolved  i s s u e g i v e n the way the two c o n s t r u c t s have been  operationalized. behavior  f i n d i n g s , t h i s i s s t i l l an  While both s o c i a l support and h e l p i n g  i n v o l v e the p r o v i s i o n o f a s s i s t a n c e d u r i n g p e r i o d s  7 of need, t h e r e are c l e a r d i f f e r e n c e s between these two of p r o s o c i a l behavior. behavior"  forms  What i s t y p i c a l l y deemed " h e l p i n g  (the o f f e r of a s s i s t a n c e t o a s t r a n g e r  i n an  emergency s i t u a t i o n ) i s c o n c e p t u a l l y d i s t i n c t from what commonly t h i n k of as " s o c i a l support" instrumental one).  The  (the ongoing  or emotional a s s i s t a n c e provided  present  empathy continues  we  t o a loved  study w i l l attempt t o determine whether t o emerge as an important p r e d i c t o r of  p r o s o c i a l behavior  when examined i n a s o c i a l  support  context. P r o v i d e r Gender Gender i s another c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of p o t e n t i a l support p r o v i d e r s t h a t i s l i k e l y t o i n f l u e n c e the p r o f f e r i n g of support.  Eagly and Crowley (1986) d i s c u s s h e l p i n g as a r o l e  behavior,  r e g u l a t e d by s o c i a l norms, and p r o v i s i o n of s o c i a l  support  may  a l s o be regarded as such.  As Eagly and  Crowley  (1986) p o i n t out, the norms governing h e l p i n g are q u i t e d i f f e r e n t f o r males and women may  be expected t o d i f f e r i n t h e i r a b i l i t y  w i l l i n g n e s s to provide Men  females, and t h e r e f o r e , men  support  and  or  t o an i n d i v i d u a l i n need.  have been found t o be p a r t i c u l a r l y h e l p f u l toward  s t r a n g e r s , i n r i s k y or dangerous s i t u a t i o n s (Eagly & Crowley, 1986).  T h i s i s c o n s i s t e n t with the male gender  r o l e , which i n c l u d e s competency-related a t t r i b u t e s such as independence, l e a d e r s h i p , s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e , good d e c i s i o n making a b i l i t i e s ,  and calmness i n a c r i s i s  Broverman, e t a l . , 1972).  Men  (Bern,  1974;  are expected t o be h e r o i c  and  8 c h i v a l r o u s , and t h e r e f o r e h e l p i n g b e h a v i o r s performed by men are l i k e l y t o be r i s k y o r p r o t e c t i v e i n nature, and may be d i r e c t e d towards s t r a n g e r s  as w e l l as i n t i m a t e s  (Eagly and  Crowley, 1986). The  female gender r o l e , i n c o n t r a s t , has o f t e n been  a s s o c i a t e d w i t h warmth and e x p r e s s i v e n e s s - r e l a t e d such as s e n s i t i v i t y t o t h e f e e l i n g s of o t h e r s ,  qualities  a b i l i t y to  express tender f e e l i n g s (Broverman, e t a l . , 1972), kindness, compassion, h e l p f u l n e s s , and t h e a b i l i t y t o devote o n e s e l f to others  (Bern, 1974).  expected t o provide  Accordingly,  women a r e o f t e n  f o r t h e needs o f others  K e s s l e r & McLeod, 1984).  Consistent  (Bernard, 1981;  w i t h t h i s , i n t h e few  s t u d i e s r e p o r t i n g data o f t h i s k i n d , women have been found t o be t h e primary p r o v i d e r s o f support t o c l o s e o t h e r s .  For  i n s t a n c e , Day (1985) has noted t h a t 70% t o 80% o f c a r e g i v e r s t o t h e e l d e r l y a r e women.  Also, G r i f f i t h  (1985), i n a study  of demographic c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f support p r o v i d e r s ,  found  t h a t women were somewhat more l i k e l y t o be r e l i e d on f o r support than men.  Thus, women may be more l i k e l y t o p r o v i d e  support t o a d i s t r e s s e d other,  and t h i s d i f f e r e n c e may be  based i n gender r o l e s . Gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathic emotion suggest a s i m i l a r p r e d i c t i o n t o t h a t generated by r o l e b e h a v i o r .  A  number o f s t u d i e s have demonstrated t h a t women a r e g e n e r a l l y more empathic than men (Brehm, Powell, & Coke, 1984; Hoffman, 1977; Zarbatany, Hartmann, Gelfand, 1985).  Thus, t o t h e extent  Vinciguerra,  t h a t empathy i n f l u e n c e s  9 s u p p o r t i v e behavior, s u p p o r t i v e than men.  women might be expected t o be more I t i s not c l e a r a t present,  whether  gender r o l e s , gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathy, o r both a r e r e s p o n s i b l e f o r women's h i g h e r present  l e v e l s o f s u p p o r t i v e n e s s . The  study w i l l attempt t o examine t h e r e l a t i v e  importance o f gender r o l e s versus  sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathy  as t h e source o f any sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n support.  To do so,  empathic emotion w i l l be used as a c o v a r i a t e i n gendere f f e c t s analyses.  To t h e extent t h a t empathic concern i s  the d r i v i n g f o r c e i n m o t i v a t i n g  the p r o v i s i o n of assistance,  gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n h e l p i n g behavior  should be g r e a t l y  reduced when t h e e f f e c t s o f empathy a r e c o n t r o l l e d statistically. R e c i p i e n t Gender Whether o r not a s s i s t a n c e i s g i v e n i s a l s o l i k e l y t o be determined by t h e gender o f t h e r e c i p i e n t . which an i n d i v i d u a l f e e l s comfortable may  The degree t o  i n o f f e r i n g assistance  depend on t h e gender o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l i n need.  stereotypes  Gender  have t y p i c a l l y p o r t r a y e d women as more needing,  wanting, and a c c e p t i n g o f a s s i s t a n c e than men. with t h i s s t e r e o t y p e  Therefore,  i n mind, when approaching an apparent  need s i t u a t i o n an i n d i v i d u a l i s more l i k e l y t o o f f e r  support  i f t h e needy other i s female, and hence i s l i k e l y t o be wanting and a c c e p t i n g o f such a s s i s t a n c e . While s t u d i e s examining t h e r e l a t i o n between gender o f the p r o v i d e r , gender o f t h e r e c i p i e n t , and h e l p i n g  behavior  have o f t e n found t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s are more l i k e l y t o h e l p  10 o t h e r s o f t h e o p p o s i t e gender (e.g. Bickman, 1974)  results  of a r e c e n t m e t a - a n a l y s i s have suggested t h a t t h i s  tendency  may be more p r e v a l e n t f o r male p r o v i d e r s . Eagly and Crowley  Specifically,  (1986) found t h a t women a r e more l i k e l y  than men t o r e c e i v e h e l p , and t h a t t h i s a s s i s t a n c e i s more l i k e l y t o be p r o v i d e d by men.  Presumably, a s s i s t a n c e  p r o v i d e d by men t o women i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e male gender r o l e o f c h i v a l r y , and t h e female r o l e o f wanting, and a c c e p t i n g a s s i s t a n c e .  needing  Men, on t h e o t h e r hand, a r e  e q u a l l y l i k e l y t o r e c e i v e a i d from males and females. Evidence from t h e s o c i a l support l i t e r a t u r e the same c o n c l u s i o n .  suggests  F o r i n s t a n c e , Vaux (1986) reviews a  number o f s t u d i e s comparing t h e amount and types o f support a v a i l a b l e t o men and women.  O v e r a l l , d i f f e r e n c e s i n support  a v a i l a b i l i t y tend t o f a v o r women. Vaux, and S c h i l l  In p a r t i c u l a r , Burda,  (1984) have found t h a t women tend t o be  p r o v i d e d w i t h more emotional k i n d s o f support than men. In a d d i t i o n , Burda e t a l . (1984) found a v a i l a b i l i t y o f support t o v a r y such t h a t feminine and androgynous i n d i v i d u a l s were l i k e l y t o be p r o v i d e d w i t h more support than u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d o r masculine i n d i v i d u a l s .  These f i n d i n g s  suggest t h a t gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n support r e c e i p t may be i n f l u e n c e d , i n p a r t , by s e x - r o l e o r i e n t a t i o n , f a v o r i n g t h e presence o f feminine ( e x p r e s s i v e ) c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s .  However,  as Burda, e t a l . (1984) p o i n t out, females, feminine, and androgynous i n d i v i d u a l s a r e a l s o more l i k e l y t o m o b i l i z e t h e i r support r e s o u r c e s i n times o f need than a r e males,  11 masculine, and u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d i n d i v i d u a l s .  It i s  t h e r e f o r e d i f f i c u l t t o a s c e r t a i n whether o r not d i f f e r e n c e s i n support  a v a i l a b i l i t y would s t i l l  mobilization e f f o r t s are held  be found when  constant.  R e c i p i e n t ' s Expressed D i s t r e s s The  p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n between  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and support expressiveness,  expressive  r e c e i p t may be e x p l a i n e d  o r t h e s i g n a l i n g o f d i s t r e s s , may serve as  an i n d i c a t o r o f need. t h a t women e x p e r i e n c i n g  Past r e s e a r c h has,  (Dunkel-Schetter,  i n f a c t , found  g r e a t e r d i s t r e s s have more  a v a i l a b l e t o them than women e x p e r i e n c i n g Folkman, & Lazarus,  Lerman, 1988; H o b f o l l & Lerman, 1989).  support  availability.  1987; H o b f o l l & These s t u d i e s of d i s t r e s s  However, other s t u d i e s have  suggested t h a t when d i s t r e s s i s extreme o r ongoing behavior  support  less distress  suggest a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n between e x p r e s s i o n and  i n that  (on t h e p a r t o f p r o v i d e r s ) may r e s u l t  avoidant  (Coates,  Wortman, & Abbey, 1979; Dunkel-Schetter, 1984). For i n s t a n c e , f i n d i n g s o f Coates e t a l . (1979) have i n d i c a t e d t h a t v i c t i m s who express t h e i r p a i n o r n e g a t i v e  a f f e c t are  more l i k e l y t o be judged as maladjusted, s u g g e s t i n g t h i s behavior some way.  that  i s seen as i n a p p r o p r i a t e o r u n d e s i r a b l e i n  T h i s may, i n t u r n , l e a d t o avoidance on t h e p a r t  of p r o v i d e r s . S t u d i e s examining t h e importance o f c o p e r s ' emotions, o r method o f coping determining  displayed  (coping " p o r t r a y a l s " ) i n  r e a c t i o n s t o an i n d i v i d u a l have p r i m a r i l y used  12 r a t i n g s of a t t r a c t i v e n e s s and adjustment,  r a t h e r than  w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support, as dependent measures.  For  i n s t a n c e , S i l v e r , Wortman, and C r o f t o n (1990) conducted  a  study m a n i p u l a t i n g the coping p o r t r a y a l s of women who s a i d e i t h e r t o be h e a l t h y or t o have cancer.  were  Reactions of  s u b j e c t s t o these i n d i v i d u a l s were assessed by o b t a i n i n g r a t i n g s of a t t r a c t i o n and d e s i r e f o r f u t u r e i n t e r a c t i o n s with the t a r g e t . responded  Results indicated that individuals  l e a s t f a v o r a b l y t o t a r g e t s presented as coping  poorly. In the S i l v e r e t a l . (1990) study, however, i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o determine was  which aspect of the coping p o r t r a y a l s  c a u s i n g s u b j e c t s ' r e a c t i o n s , as p o r t r a y a l s v a r i e d not  o n l y i n the degree t o which i n d i v i d u a l s were s u c c e s s f u l l y engaging  i n coping e f f o r t s , but e x p r e s s i o n s of d i s t r e s s were  a l t e r e d as w e l l .  I t i s therefore d i f f i c u l t to ascertain  whether the tendency  f o r poor copers t o r e c e i v e more  n e g a t i v e e v a l u a t i o n s i s the r e s u l t of the d i s t r e s s by these i n d i v i d u a l s o r t h e i r apparent  expressed  i n a b i l i t y t o engage  i n s u c c e s s f u l coping, or both. Taken t o g e t h e r these s t u d i e s p r o v i d e evidence t h a t e x p r e s s i o n of d i s t r e s s has an important i n f l u e n c e on r e a c t i o n s t o the coper. d i s t r e s s appears  However, while the e x p r e s s i o n of  t o have a n e g a t i v e i n f l u e n c e on r a t i n g s of  a t t r a c t i v e n e s s and adjustment,  c o r r e l a t i o n a l s t u d i e s suggest  a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n between d i s t r e s s and s o c i a l availability.  In order t o more f u l l y understand  support the  13 r e l a t i o n between e x p r e s s i o n s o f d i s t r e s s , r a t i n g s o f a t t r a c t i v e n e s s and w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support  clarifying  r e s e a r c h i s needed. A second  issue i n regard t o d i s t r e s s i s i t s p o s s i b l e  i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h gender o f t h e r e c i p i e n t . have assessed t h e importance female v i c t i m s .  S t u d i e s t o date  of d i s t r e s s only i n reaction t o  S o c i a l norms i n our s o c i e t y d i s c o u r a g e  emotional e x p r e s s i o n i n men and encourage males t o be independent,  have good decision-making a b i l i t i e s and t o  remain calm i n a c r i s i s 1972).  (Bern, 1974; Broverman, e t a l . ,  A d e v i a t i o n from these norms may, i n t u r n , be  regarded as a s i g n o f maladjustment.  Hence, d i s t r e s s e d  males may be more l i k e l y t o be p e r c e i v e d n e g a t i v e l y than distressed  females.  On t h e o t h e r hand, t h e b e l i e f t h a t a g r e a t d e a l o f i n n e r t u r m o i l must u n d e r l i e any e x p r e s s i o n o f emotion ( p a r t i c u l a r l y i n men) may serve as a s i g n a l t o o t h e r s t h a t a g r e a t d e a l o f support i s needed.  Because i t i s counter t o  e x p e c t a t i o n s , d i s t r e s s expressed by men may a l s o s t r o n g e r f e e l i n g s o f empathic  elicit  concern than d i s t r e s s  expressed by women, and may enhance w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e a s s i s t a n c e t o a g r e a t e r degree, as w e l l .  In sum, r e a c t i o n s  t o d i s t r e s s , whether p o s i t i v e o r n e g a t i v e , a r e l i k e l y t o be more extreme when expressed by males than by females. Any  i n t e r a c t i o n between d i s t r e s s and gender o f  r e c i p i e n t may be q u a l i f i e d by a three-way i n t e r a c t i o n with gender o f p r o v i d e r .  S p e c i f i c a l l y , women may be more w i l l i n g  t o p r o v i d e support t o emotional males than t o r e l a t i v e l y unemotional  ones, w h i l e male p r o v i d e r s a r e l i k e l y t o show a  reverse pattern.  As Eagly and Crowley  (1986) i n d i c a t e ,  women a r e o f t e n r e s t r a i n e d i n t h e i r p r o v i s i o n o f a s s i s t a n c e t o male s t r a n g e r s because they a r e seen as t h r e a t e n i n g o r dangerous.  To t h e extent t h a t these f e a r s do i n f a c t  prevent women from o f f e r i n g a s s i s t a n c e t o men, i t i s l i k e l y t h a t women w i l l p r o v i d e more support t o h i g h l y emotional and v u l n e r a b l e males than t o l e s s emotional ones, as women may feel  l e s s t h r e a t e n e d by such  individuals.  Male p r o v i d e r s , on t h e o t h e r hand, may be l e s s s u p p o r t i v e o f a male coper who i s d i s t r e s s e d as compared t o a male who i s l e s s so.  Males a r e unaccustomed t o emotional  d i s c l o s u r e from other males (Narus & F i s c h e r , 1982), and t h e r e f o r e , may f e e l uncomfortable i n i t s presence.  This  sense o f unease may l e a d t o avoidance, and hence reduce support p r o v i s i o n t o t h e d i s t r e s s e d male. The Present Study The p r e s e n t study examines t h e e f f e c t s o f p r o v i d e r empathy, p r o v i d e r gender, r e c i p i e n t gender and r e c i p i e n t d i s t r e s s i n a peer c o u n s e l i n g c o n t e x t . I t i s anticipated that i n d i v i d u a l s high i n d i s p o s i t i o n a l empathic  concern w i l l i n d i c a t e a g r e a t e r  w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support than those low i n empathic concern.  Because t h i s c o n t e x t i s one from which "escape" i s  easy, a d i s p o s i t i o n a l tendency t o experience p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s i s expected t o be n e g a t i v e l y r e l a t e d o r u n r e l a t e d  15 t o w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support.  Empathic p e r s p e c t i v e  t a k i n g i s expected t o be a s s o c i a t e d with h e l p i n g b e h a v i o r ; however, t h i s r e l a t i o n i s expected t o be mediated by s t a t e l e v e l s o f empathic  concern, r a t h e r than a d i r e c t  effect.  I t i s a l s o h y p o t h e s i z e d t h a t the p r o v i d e r s ' and r e c i p i e n t s ' gender w i l l a f f e c t w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support.  S p e c i f i c a l l y , female p a r t i c i p a n t s are expected t o  p r o v i d e more support than males.  The extent t o which t h i s  gender d i f f e r e n c e i s a f u n c t i o n o f d i s p o s i t i o n a l  empathic  concern w i l l be assessed by c o n t r o l l i n g s t a t i s t i c a l l y f o r t h i s v a r i a b l e i n gender a n a l y s e s .  I t i s further predicted  t h a t women w i l l be the r e c i p i e n t s o f more support than men. In a d d i t i o n , t h e p r e s e n t study w i l l examine the i n f l u e n c e o f coper d i s t r e s s upon support p r o v i s i o n and coper evaluations.  C o n t r a r y p r e d i c t i o n s may be o f f e r e d r e g a r d i n g  this factor.  On the one hand, d i s t r e s s may i n c r e a s e  n e g a t i v e e v a l u a t i o n s o f t h e coper's adjustment and a t t r a c t i v e n e s s , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the case o f an emotional male r e c i p i e n t .  On t h e o t h e r hand, w i t n e s s i n g an  i n d i v i d u a l ' s d i s t r e s s may i n c r e a s e empathic  concern and  p e r c e p t i o n s o f need and subsequently i n c r e a s e w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support.  T h i s a l s o i s l i k e l y t o be enhanced i n t h e  case o f male copers. L a s t l y , a three-way p r o v i d e r gender by r e c i p i e n t gender by expressed d i s t r e s s i n t e r a c t i o n i s expected.  Male  p r o v i d e r s are l i k e l y t o respond more n e g a t i v e l y t o d i s t r e s s  16 i n males than females, w h i l e female p r o v i d e r s are l e s s l i k e l y t o show such an e f f e c t . Method Overview Male and female s u b j e c t s completed  a measure of  d i s p o s i t i o n a l empathy and watched a videotape of e i t h e r a male o r a female coper i n a c o u n s e l i n g s e s s i o n .  The  coper  d i s p l a y e d e i t h e r a h i g h or a low amount of d i s t r e s s . S u b j e c t s then completed  a s e t of measures e v a l u a t i n g the  coper's a t t r a c t i v e n e s s and adjustment.  In a d d i t i o n ,  p a r t i c i p a n t s i n d i c a t e d , v i a q u e s t i o n n a i r e responses, the amount and k i n d s of support they would p r o v i d e t o an i n d i v i d u a l s i m i l a r t o the one p o r t r a y e d i n the v i d e o t a p e . L a s t l y , s u b j e c t s were asked t o v o l u n t e e r t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r t o the i n d i v i d u a l viewed  i n the tape.  The  total  number of hours and a c t i v i t i e s committed t o v o l u n t e e r i n g were a s s e s s e d .  Thus, the study made use of a 2 X 2 (gender  of coper by d i s t r e s s of coper) between-subjects  d e s i g n , with  h i g h and low l e v e l s of empathy and gender of s u b j e c t as internal  factors.  Subjects E i g h t y - s i x male and e i g h t y - f i v e female s u b j e c t s p a r t i c i p a t e d i n the experiment  f o r p a r t i a l course c r e d i t .  P a r t i c i p a n t s were randomly a s s i g n e d t o experimental conditions.  F i v e males and one female expressed some  s u s p i c i o n r e g a r d i n g the a u t h e n t i c i t y of the v i d e o t a p e s and,  17 hence, were dropped from a l l a n a l y s e s . Materials Four v e r s i o n s o f a s t i m u l u s tape were c r e a t e d .  The  s e t t i n g and s c r i p t remained the same a c r o s s s t i m u l u s  tapes.  In a l l v e r s i o n s an i n d i v i d u a l was p o r t r a y e d i n a c o u n s e l l i n g session.  A h i g h and a low emotion v e r s i o n o f the videotape  was made by each o f two male and two female a c t o r s . A between-subjects d e s i g n was used t o p i l o t t e s t the tapes f o r d i f f e r e n c e s between a c t o r s i n the same c o n d i t i o n , and t o ensure t h a t t h e emotional successful. subjects.  e x p r e s s i o n manipulation  was  Each o f the e i g h t videotapes was watched by 6-8 A manipulation  check o f coper d i s t r e s s was  performed by c o l l a p s i n g a c r o s s a c t o r s and r e c i p i e n t gender, and conducting  a t - t e s t between tapes designated  high and low d i s t r e s s .  a p r i o r i as  R a t i n g s o f coper d i s t r e s s  p o i n t s c a l e ) were used as the dependent v a r i a b l e . i n d i c a t e d s u c c e s s f u l manipulation 3.68,  (on a 7This  o f d i s t r e s s , t (54) =  p < .001, with s u b j e c t s indeed p e r c e i v i n g the a c t o r s  i n the h i g h emotion tapes as e x p r e s s i n g g r e a t e r d i s t r e s s than those i n the low emotion tapes. To t e s t f o r a c t o r e f f e c t s , t - t e s t s were then  conducted  between the two h i g h emotion male v e r s i o n s , h i g h emotion female v e r s i o n s , low emotion male v e r s i o n s , and low emotion female v e r s i o n s .  A s e r i e s o f t - t e s t s were conducted u s i n g a  nine item b i p o l a r r a t i n g o f coper a t t r a c t i v e n e s s , and r a t i n g s (on 7-point s c a l e s ) o f coper d i s t r e s s , coper need, s e r i o u s n e s s o f the coper's problems, and a d m i r a b i l i t y ,  18 a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s , and normalcy of the coping p o r t r a y a l as the dependent v a r i a b l e s . found.  In g e n e r a l , very few d i f f e r e n c e s were  R e s u l t s i n d i c a t e d no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s i n  r e a c t i o n s t o the two  female a c t r e s s e s i n the low emotion  v e r s i o n s of the v i d e o t a p e s .  One  marginally s i g n i f i c a n t  d i f f e r e n c e i n r a t i n g s of problem s e v e r i t y , t (12) = 2.03,  p  = .07, emerged i n r e a c t i o n s t o these 2 a c t r e s s e s i n the h i g h emotion v e r s i o n s .  With r e g a r d t o the male low-emotion  v e r s i o n s a marginal d i f f e r e n c e , t (11) = 2.08,  p. =  .06,  emerged i n s c o r e s summed a c r o s s the 9-item measure of a t t r a c t i v e n e s s , and a s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e was  obtained  on  r a t i n g s of the normalcy of the coping p o r t r a y a l , t (11) = 2.43,  p < .03.  In the h i g h emotion v e r s i o n s a marginal  d i f f e r e n c e , t (1, 12) = 1.86, of coper d i s t r e s s .  p =.09,  was  found  O v e r a l l , then, t h e r e were  in ratings  few  d i f f e r e n c e s between a c t o r s , w i t h the e x c e p t i o n t h a t p r e t e s t s u b j e c t s judged one of the two  low emotion males t o be more  a t t r a c t i v e , and t o be coping i n a l e s s normal manner than the o t h e r male. Procedure S u b j e c t s were c a l l e d and asked t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n a study a s s e s s i n g the peer support a v a i l a b l e t o students coping w i t h a v a r i e t y of problems. t h a t the study was  being conducted  A l l s u b j e c t s were t o l d i n order t o o b t a i n  i n f o r m a t i o n f o r the development of a peer support c e n t r e on campus.  Upon a r r i v a l , s u b j e c t s were reminded of the supposed purpose of t h e experiment  and asked t o s i g n a consent  S u b j e c t s were then informed t h a t the Peer C o u n s e l i n g  form. Centre  had p r o v i d e d a number of v i d e o t a p e s c o n t a i n i n g e x c e r p t s c o u n s e l i n g s e s s i o n s which had o c c u r r e d over the l a s t of months.  from  couple  I t was f u r t h e r e x p l a i n e d t h a t t h e i n d i v i d u a l i n  each of these tapes had g i v e n consent f o r the use of h i s o r her tape i n the study.  P a r t i c i p a n t s were informed t h a t each  tape would be viewed o n l y once i n order t o m a i n t a i n the c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y o f the student  ( t h i s was important t o the  " v o l u n t e e r i n g " measure of s u p p o r t ) .  The videotape e x c e r p t s  were s a i d t o have been taken from the assessment p a r t of t h e i n t e r v i e w i n which the c o u n s e l o r asked the c l i e n t some g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n s about h i s o r her c u r r e n t c o n d i t i o n . S u b j e c t s were then asked t o complete D a v i s  7  (1980)  I n t e r p e r s o n a l R e a c t i v i t y Index (IRI) as an " a i d i n the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n " of t h e i r responses.  The IRI was used t o  assess d i s p o s i t i o n a l l e v e l s o f empathic concern, p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s , and p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g .  A f t e r completion o f the  IRI p a r t i c i p a n t s were e s c o r t e d t o one of f o u r i n d i v i d u a l rooms equipped w i t h a t e l e v i s i o n monitor  and v i d e o c a s s e t t e  r e c o r d e r , and were g i v e n a s h o r t v e r b a l d e s c r i p t i o n of " C h r i s " , t h e man o r woman p o r t r a y e d on the v i d e o t a p e .  In  a l l c o n d i t i o n s C h r i s was d e s c r i b e d as a UBC student who experienced t h e breakup of a s e r i o u s two year r e l a t i o n s h i p approximately two months p r i o r t o t h e c o u n s e l i n g s e s s i o n . I t was f u r t h e r e x p l a i n e d t h a t C h r i s decided t o go t o  20 c o u n s e l i n g because of changes t h a t had o c c u r r e d l i f e s i n c e the break-up.  in Chris'  This explanation offered subjects  minimal i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g C h r i s ' c h a r a c t e r and  was  expected t o l i m i t any tendency t o view C h r i s as c h r o n i c a l l y d i s t r e s s e d , and thereby  encouraged the b e l i e f t h a t C h r i s '  c o u l d , i n f a c t , be helped. of the tape,  Immediately f o l l o w i n g  completion  s u b j e c t s were asked t o complete a v a r i e t y of  questionnaires assessing t h e i r reactions to Chris.  All  measures, u n l e s s otherwise  on  s p e c i f i e d , were assessed  7-  point scales. Dependent Measures S t a t e Empathy Since p r e v i o u s work has sometimes examined empathy as a s t a t e , r a t h e r than t r a i t , p r e d i c t o r of h e l p al.,  1983)  (e.g. Batson, e t  s u b j e c t s ' s t a t e l e v e l of empathy was  a d d i t i o n t o the t r a i t measures.  assessed  The measure a l s o  in  allowed  f o r the s t a t i s t i c a l c o n t r o l of s t a t e empathic concern t o t e s t the p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g p r e d i c t i o n . each, assessed  Two  questions,  i n d i v i d u a l s ' s t a t e l e v e l of empathic concern  (concern and compassion f o r C h r i s ) , p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s (upset and d i s t r e s s over C h r i s ' s i t u a t i o n ) , and p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g ( s e e i n g t h i n g s from C h r i s ' p e r s p e c t i v e , or imagining  him  or  herself in Chris' place). Perceptions Two  of the Coping P o r t r a y a l  questions  assessed  s u b j e c t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s of the  amount of upset and emotion expressed videotape.  by C h r i s i n the  These items acted as a m a n i p u l a t i o n  check of  the  e m o t i o n a l i t y of the coper.  In a d d i t i o n , s u b j e c t s completed  measures r e g a r d i n g t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s of the coper, manner i n which he or she was she was  experiencing.  the  coping, and the problem he or  I t has been hypothesized t h a t  e x p r e s s i o n s of d i s t r e s s might i n f l u e n c e each of these f a c t o r s , e i t h e r by h i g h l i g h t i n g the coper's s i t u a t i o n  and  need f o r support, by making the coper appear more or l e s s a t t r a c t i v e , and/or making the coper appear l e s s competent, or  normal than someone d i s p l a y i n g l e s s emotion.  Situation S u b j e c t s may  respond  t o e x p r e s s i o n s of d i s t r e s s  by  a l t e r i n g t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s of the s e r i o u s n e s s of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s problems, such t h a t g r e a t e r d i s t r e s s i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h more severe problems.  Two  questions  assessed p a r t i c i p a n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s of the s e r i o u s n e s s of C h r i s ' problems:  how  s e r i o u s they were, how  would be t o cope with C h r i s ' problems.  One  assessed p a r t i c i p a n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s of how  difficult i t question  much support C h r i s  needed. Attractiveness S u b j e c t s were asked t o i n d i c a t e how  much they l i k e d  coper by responding t o a 5-item l i k i n g s c a l e . asked s u b j e c t s how to  The  the  items  much they l i k e d the student, would want  meet the student, would want t o get t o know the  student  b e t t e r , would l i k e t o work w i t h the student on a c o o p e r a t i v e t a s k , and whether or not s u b j e c t s f e l t they c o u l d become good f r i e n d s w i t h the  student.  In a d d i t i o n , s u b j e c t s were asked t o r a t e C h r i s on a s c a l e of 9 b i p o l a r a d j e c t i v e s .  Traits include:  s i n c e r e , f r i e n d l y , a p p e a l i n g , competent, l i k e a b l e , r e s p o n s i b l e , and a t t r a c t i v e . Coates e t a l . (1979) expressed  intelligent, As i n d i c a t e d  d i s t r e s s may  by  influence l i k i n g  and a t t r a c t i v e n e s s r a t i n g s n e g a t i v e l y , and thus i n f l u e n c e the d e c i s i o n t o p r o v i d e  pleasant,  may  support.  Appropriateness As suggested  by Coates e t a l . (1979), e x p r e s s i o n s of  d i s t r e s s may  a l t e r assessments of an  individual's  adjustment.  T h e r e f o r e , p e r c e p t i o n s of the  appropriateness  of C h r i s ' coping s t y l e were measured by a s k i n g s u b j e c t s questions:  how  normal and how  two  appropriate C h r i s ' reactions  are. General Supportive I n t e n t i o n s Support  was  measured i n t h r e e ways.  The  f i r s t of these  assessed s u b j e c t s ' g e n e r a l i n t e n t i o n t o p r o v i d e S p e c i f i c a l l y , p a r t i c i p a n t s were asked: t h i n k they would be of C h r i s ; how  how  s u p p o r t i v e they  much of t h e i r time  would be w i l l i n g t o use i n h e l p i n g C h r i s ; t h e i r way  support.  how  they would go t o h e l p C h r i s ; and, how  they  f a r out of important i t  would be t o them t o h e l p C h r i s . Hypothetical  Support  S u b j e c t s then completed the Supportive A c t i o n s S c a l e (SAS;  T r o b s t , C o l l i n s , & Embree, 1991)  a questionnaire  c o n s i s t i n g of a l i s t of 31 p o t e n t i a l l y s u p p o r t i v e b e h a v i o r s . For each behavior p a r t i c i p a n t s are asked t o i n d i c a t e ,  (on a  7-point s c a l e from " d e f i n i t e l y would not do t h i s " t o " d e f i n i t e l y would do t h i s " ) the l i k e l i h o o d t h a t they would p r o v i d e the p a r t i c u l a r type of support, and how  helpful  they  b e l i e v e d each a c t i o n would be i f they were i n f a c t t o perform i t (on a 7-point s c a l e from " d e f i n i t e l y would not be h e l p f u l " t o " d e f i n i t e l y would be h e l p f u l " ) . c o n s i s t s of t h r e e r e l a t i v e l y independent encouraging/emotional  The  scale  subscales:  support, d i r e c t i v e support,  a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support.  and  The f i r s t of these has been  found t o be most h i g h l y r e l a t e d t o what i s t y p i c a l l y of  thought  as "support", r e c e i v i n g the h i g h e s t r a t i n g s of  h e l p f u l n e s s , and c o r r e l a t i n g more s t r o n g l y w i t h other measures of support than the d i r e c t i v e or avoidant subscales. Behavioral Intent Upon completion of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e packet experimenter,  an  b l i n d t o experimental c o n d i t i o n , entered the  room w i t h a " v o l u n t e e r r e c r u i t m e n t c a r d " and The experiment  p a r t of the study i s over  said: now.  However, s i n c e our r e a l g o a l i s t o t r y t o h e l p students who  are having d i f f i c u l t i e s c o p i n g we  are  a l s o u s i n g t h i s as an o p p o r t u n i t y t o r e c r u i t v o l u n t e e r s who  would be i n t e r e s t e d i n working with  the student they have seen i n the v i d e o t a p e . I have here i s a l i s t of d i f f e r e n t  What  activities  people can v o l u n t e e r f o r , and we ask you t o read over the l i s t ,  check o f f anything you might be  i n t e r e s t e d i n , and p r o v i d e us w i t h your name and phone number as a v o l u n t e e r we can c o n t a c t t o take p a r t i n these a c t i v i t i e s .  Of course you a r e under  no o b l i g a t i o n t o v o l u n t e e r , f o r whatever reason, and because we a r e t r y i n g t o g e t people t h a t would r e a l l y be a v a i l a b l e , i f you a r e unsure you can j u s t leave t h e c a r d blank.  So, when you a r e done  with t h e c a r d p l e a s e put i t i n t h i s envelope, it,  seal  and g i v e i t back t o me.  P a r t i c i p a n t s were i n s t r u c t e d t o read t h e v o l u n t e e r r e c r u i t m e n t form c a r e f u l l y , and i n d i c a t e t h e number o f hours they would be w i l l i n g t o v o l u n t e e r t o a c t as a peer counselor.  In a d d i t i o n , t h e c a r d informed  subjects that i f  they were unable t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r they c o u l d take p a r t i n o t h e r "one-time o n l y " a c t i v i t i e s ,  including giving  t h e i r phone number t o t h e student, meeting t h e student f o r lunch o r c o f f e e , o r a t t e n d i n g t h e Peer C o u n s e l i n g p a r t y so t h a t they c o u l d meet t h e student.  Centre  In order t o  v o l u n t e e r f o r these a c t i v i t i e s s u b j e c t s were i n s t r u c t e d t o p l a c e a check mark next t o each o f t h r e e a c t i v i t i e s f o r which they would be w i l l i n g t o v o l u n t e e r .  Space was  p r o v i d e d f o r v o l u n t e e r s t o i n d i c a t e t h e i r name and phone number.  The t o t a l number o f hours and a c t i v i t i e s each  p a r t i c i p a n t v o l u n t e e r e d f o r served as t h e b e h a v i o r a l measure.  To promote honesty  i n responding,  s u b j e c t s were  asked t o p l a c e t h e v o l u n t e e r r e c r u i t m e n t c a r d i n an envelope before t u r n i n g i t i n .  25 Debriefing At t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e study, a l l s u b j e c t s were f u l l y debriefed.  I t was ensured t h a t s u b j e c t s understood t h e  purpose o f t h e study and t h e importance  o f such r e s e a r c h f o r  g a i n i n g an understanding o f t h e determinants support p r o v i s i o n .  of s o c i a l  Since t h e study r e l i e d on d e c e p t i o n a t  some p o i n t s , g r e a t c a r e was taken t o ensure t h a t s u b j e c t s understood  t h e reason f o r u s i n g d e c e p t i o n and f e l t  comfortable about i t s use.  S p e c i f i c a l l y , s u b j e c t s were  informed t h a t a c t o r s were presented i n t h e v i d e o t a p e , and t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n was expected t o d i m i n i s h any concern o r d i s t r e s s experienced i n response t o the coper.  In a d d i t i o n ,  s u b j e c t s were be made aware t h a t while t h e i n f o r m a t i o n o b t a i n e d was not, a t p r e s e n t , being used f o r t h e development of a Peer Counseling Centre, i t would be made a v a i l a b l e f o r such use i f needed.  S u b j e c t s were a l s o informed t h a t they  would not, i n f a c t , be c a l l e d t o v o l u n t e e r as a peer counselor.  A l l s u b j e c t s were assured t h a t t h e i r  responses  were q u i t e normal and t h a t f a i l u r e t o p r o v i d e support d i d not i n d i c a t e anything bad o r unusual about them.  The  p a r t i c i p a n t s were then allowed t o ask any q u e s t i o n s i n order t o ensure f u l l  understanding. Results  M a n i p u l a t i o n Check A m a n i p u l a t i o n check o f coper d i s t r e s s was performed by conducting a t - t e s t u s i n g r a t i n g s of coper d i s t r e s s as the dependent v a r i a b l e , and d i s t r e s s d i s p l a y e d i n t h e v i d e o t a p e s  (high v e r s u s low) as the independent  variable.  Findings  i n d i c a t e d t h a t the m a n i p u l a t i o n of d i s t r e s s was s u c c e s s f u l , t  (163) = 4.22, p. < .001.  P r e l i m i n a r y Analyses Support • Three d i f f e r e n t measures o f support were used i n t h i s study.  The f o u r item g e n e r a l measure o f s u p p o r t i v e  i n t e n t i o n s ( p a r t i c i p a n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s o f how important i t would be t o them t o h e l p t h e coper, how much o f t h e i r  time  they would be w i l l i n g t o use i n h e l p i n g t h e coper, how f a r out o f t h e i r way they would go t o h e l p t h e coper, and how much support they f e l t they would p r o v i d e ) showed s t r o n g i n t e r n a l c o n s i s t e n c y , 06= .88. The second measure used was the S u p p o r t i v e A c t i o n s S c a l e ( T r o b s t , C o l l i n s , & Embree, 1991). SAS  i n c l u d e s an encouraging/emotional  R e c a l l t h a t the  support s u b s c a l e , a  d i r e c t i v e support s u b s c a l e , and an a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support subscale.  R e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s c a l c u l a t e d f o r each o f  the t h r e e s u b s c a l e s i n d i c a t e d adequate i n t e r n a l c o n s i s t e n c y f o r each  ( i . e . encouraging/emotional  d i r e c t i v e support, 0(=  .68).  support, OL = .87;  .60; and, a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support,  Calculations of subscale i n t e r c o r r e l a t i o n s  i n d i c a t e d t h a t the t h r e e f a c t o r s a r e r e l a t i v e l y ( r ' s ranged from  .24 t o .31).  independent  These c o r r e l a t i o n s a r e  s i m i l a r t o those o b t a i n e d i n s c a l e development ( T r o b s t , e t al.,  1991).  C o n s t r u c t v a l i d i t y i n f o r m a t i o n i s p r o v i d e d by examining the mean h e l p f u l n e s s and p r o b a b i l i t y r a t i n g s f o r each subscale.  The encouraging/emotional support b e h a v i o r s were  deemed h e l p f u l , with a mean r a t i n g of X = 5.31 on a 7-point scale  (7=extremely  helpful).  While t h e items t a p p i n g  d i r e c t i v e support (X = 4.05), and a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support (X = 3.58) were seen as n e i t h e r h e l p f u l nor u n h e l p f u l .  In  a d d i t i o n , s u b j e c t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t they would be most l i k e l y t o perform encouraging/emotional k i n d s o f support (X = 5.44), f o l l o w e d by d i r e c t i v e support (X = 4.41), and a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support (X = 3.98).  A l l mean d i f f e r e n c e s  between s u b s c a l e s were s i g n i f i c a n t a t t h e .01 l e v e l .  These  data a r e a l s o c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p r e v i o u s work ( T r o b s t , e t a l . , 1991), and suggest t h a t encouraging/emotional support i s t h e best i n d i c a t o r of i n t e n t i o n a l l y supportive behavior. Commitment t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r t o t h e coper comprised t h e t h i r d support measure.  P a r t i c i p a n t s were  asked t o i n d i c a t e t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s t o v o l u n t e e r e i t h e r "0 hours/week", "1-3 hours/week", "4-10 hours/week", o r "10-20 hours/week" o f t h e i r time f o r t h e purpose o f a c t i n g as a peer c o u n s e l o r t o t h e coper they viewed  i n the videotape.  I n d i v i d u a l s i n d i c a t i n g they would v o l u n t e e r "0 hours" r e c e i v e d a s c o r e of "0", "1-3 hours" r e c e i v e d a score o f "1", and "4-10 hours" r e c e i v e d a score o f "2".  The mean  score f o r hours committed was X = .39, w i t h 110 s u b j e c t s , o r 67% o f t h e sample, i n d i c a t i n g t h a t they would v o l u n t e e r "0 hours", 45 s u b j e c t s , o r 27% o f t h e sample, i n d i c a t i n g they  28 would v o l u n t e e r "1-3 hours",  and 10 s u b j e c t s , o r 6% o f the  sample, i n d i c a t i n g they would v o l u n t e e r "4-10" hours. of  None  the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n d i c a t e d a w i l l i n g n e s s t o v o l u n t e e r 10-  20 hours/week o f t h e i r time t o a c t as a peer  counselor.  In a d d i t i o n , p a r t i c i p a n t s c o u l d v o l u n t e e r t o h e l p t h e coper by a g r e e i n g t o a t t e n d a "peer c o u n s e l i n g p a r t y " where they c o u l d meet and t a l k t o t h e coper of  (26 s u b j e c t s , o r 16%  t h e sample, v o l u n t e e r e d ) , a g r e e i n g t o meet t h e coper f o r  lunch o r c o f f e e (28 s u b j e c t s , o r 17% o f t h e sample v o l u n t e e r e d ) , o r by a l l o w i n g t h e experimenter p a r t i c i p a n t ' s phone number t o t h e coper  t o give the  (43 s u b j e c t s , o r 26%  of  t h e sample v o l u n t e e r e d ) .  P a r t i c i p a n t s r e c e i v e d a score  of  "1" f o r each a c t i v i t y they agreed t o take p a r t i n . The c o r r e l a t i o n between commitment o f hours and t h e  summed s c o r e o f commitment t o take p a r t i n t h e t h r e e a c t i v i t i e s was r (162) = .50. T h e r e f o r e , s c o r e s o b t a i n e d for  t h e number o f hours v o l u n t e e r e d and t h e number o f  a c t i v i t i e s agreed t o were summed f o r each p a r t i c i p a n t , c r e a t i n g a measure o f o v e r a l l commitment t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r t o t h e coper. Empathy A s e t o f i n i t i a l a n a l y s e s were a l s o conducted the i n t e r c o r r e l a t i o n s o f t h e s t a t e and t r a i t subscales.  examining  empathy  With r e g a r d t o t h e t r a i t s u b s c a l e s , p e r s p e c t i v e  t a k i n g was s i g n i f i c a n t l y c o r r e l a t e d with empathic concern, r (162) = .40, E < .001, however, t h e o t h e r dimensions were l a r g e l y independent ( r ' s r a n g i n g from .03 t o -.02).  These  29 f i n d i n g s a r e s i m i l a r t o those o b t a i n e d by Davis (1983). Examination of the c o r r e l a t i o n s between t h e s t a t e empathy subscales,  on the other hand, i n d i c a t e d t h a t the 3 s u b s c a l e s  were a l l moderately i n t e r c o r r e l a t e d ( r ' s ranged from .38 .55).  In a d d i t i o n , w h i l e s t a t e empathic concern s c o r e s and  state perspective  t a k i n g s c o r e s c o r r e l a t e d more h i g h l y w i t h  t h e i r c o r r e s p o n d i n g t r a i t measure than w i t h the o t h e r subscales,  trait  s t a t e p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s c o r r e l a t e d most h i g h l y  w i t h t r a i t empathic concern ( r (162) = .38, p_ < .001) and e q u a l l y w i t h t r a i t p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s and t r a i t taking  ( r (162) = .20, p_ < .005).  perspective  Given t h i s f i n d i n g , and  the h i g h i n t e r - i t e m c o r r e l a t i o n s , a l l of the s t a t e items were summed t o c r e a t e  a g e n e r a l measure o f s t a t e empathic  emotion. Main Hypotheses Provider  Empathy  Provider  empathy was p r e d i c t e d  impact on s u p p o r t i v e n e s s .  t o have a s i g n i f i c a n t  S p e c i f i c a l l y , i t was hypothesized  t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s h i g h i n d i s p o s i t i o n a l empathic concern would i n d i c a t e g r e a t e r  s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s , endorse more  encouraging/emotional s u p p o r t i v e a c t i o n s , and would be more l i k e l y t o commit t o a c t i n g as a peer c o u n s e l o r t o the coper than i n d i v i d u a l s low i n d i s p o s i t i o n a l empathic concern. T h i s h y p o t h e s i s was confirmed i n r e g a r d t o both the combined measure o f s t a t e empathic emotion and t h e t r a i t measure of empathic concern.  30  I n s e r t Table 1 about here  As may be seen i n Table 1, a c r o s s both of these empathy measures t h e h i g h e s t c o r r e l a t i o n was o b t a i n e d w i t h r a t i n g s of g e n e r a l s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s , f o l l o w e d by c o r r e l a t i o n s w i t h encouraging/emotional  s u p p o r t i v e a c t i o n s , and the  b e h a v i o r a l measure of commitment t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r . These f i n d i n g s i n d i c a t e t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s h i g h i n d i s p o s i t i o n a l empathic concern, as w e l l as those e x p e r i e n c i n g a l a r g e amount o f s t a t e empathic emotion a r e more l i k e l y t o i n d i c a t e a g e n e r a l i n t e n t i o n t o be supportive, i n d i c a t e a greater w i l l i n g n e s s t o provide encouraging/emotional  support, and a r e more l i k e l y t o commit  t o a c t i n g as a peer c o u n s e l o r than i n d i v i d u a l s low i n d i s p o s i t i o n a l empathic concern, o r those e x p e r i e n c i n g low l e v e l s o f s t a t e empathic emotion. No p r e d i c t i o n s were made r e g a r d i n g t h e a s s o c i a t i o n between empathic concern and tendency  to o f f e r d i r e c t i v e or  a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g types o f support, and indeed, no a s s o c i a t i o n was found between e i t h e r the d i s p o s i t i o n a l o r s t a t e measures and s c o r e s on t h e d i r e c t i v e support o r a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support s u b s c a l e s . P e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g was hypothesized t o be a s s o c i a t e d with support p r o v i s i o n , and as Table 1 i n d i c a t e s , i t was s i g n i f i c a n t l y c o r r e l a t e d w i t h t h e g e n e r a l support measure,  the encouraging/emotional support t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r .  subscale,  However i t was  and  commitment  expected t h a t  the e f f e c t s of p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g would be l i m i t e d t o i t s a b i l i t y t o i n c r e a s e f e e l i n g s of empathic emotion. Therefore,  any  the support  r e l a t i o n between t r a i t p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g  v a r i a b l e s would be e l i m i n a t e d when  and  statistically  c o n t r o l l i n g f o r the e f f e c t of s t a t e empathic emotion.  To  t e s t t h i s p r e d i c t i o n a s e r i e s of stepwise m u l t i p l e r e g r e s s i o n s were conducted u s i n g each of the t h r e e v a r i a b l e as the dependent v a r i a b l e s , and e n t e r i n g  support the  combined measure of s t a t e empathic emotion a t the f i r s t  step  and t r a i t p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g s c o r e s a t the second s t e p . R e s u l t s s t r o n g l y supported these p r e d i c t i o n s , i n d i c a t i n g t h a t p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g d i d not s i g n i f i c a n t l y p r e d i c t general  supportive  i n t e n t i o n s ( r = .02,  encouraging/emotional s u p p o r t i v e  ns.),  a c t i o n s ( r = .02,  commitment t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l l o r ( r = .03,  n s . ) , or  n s ) , over  and above the e f f e c t of s t a t e empathic emotion. The  t r a i t measure of p e r s o n a l  d i s t r e s s was  hypothesized  t o be n e g a t i v e l y or u n r e l a t e d t o s u p p o r t i v e n e s s .  Results  were mixed, i n d i c a t i n g t h a t p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s was  unrelated  to general  supportive  i n t e n t i o n s ( r (162)  encouraging/emotional s u p p o r t i v e ns.)  and was  = .02,  a c t i o n s ( r (162)  ns.) =  and .06,  somewhat n e g a t i v e l y a s s o c i a t e d with commitment  t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r ,  r (162)  I n t e r e s t i n g l y , p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s was  = -.13,  p_ =  .05.  found t o have a  marginal p o s i t i v e a s s o c i a t i o n with d i r e c t i v e support,  r  32 (162) = .13, p = .06, and a s i g n i f i c a n t p o s i t i v e  association  with a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support, r (162) = .22, p < .005. These f i n d i n g s seem t o suggest t h a t while p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s does not i n f l u e n c e p o s i t i v e support p r o v i s i o n , i t may be a s s o c i a t e d w i t h more n e g a t i v e k i n d s o f behavior, and with f a i l u r e t o p r o v i d e support. P r o v i d e r Gender I t was hypothesized t h a t p r o v i d e r gender would i n f l u e n c e w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support.  Specifically,  female p a r t i c i p a n t s were expected t o i n d i c a t e g r e a t e r s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s , endorse more  encouraging/emotional  s u p p o r t i v e a c t i o n s , and i n d i c a t e a g r e a t e r w i l l i n g n e s s t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r t o the coper than male p a r t i c i p a n t s . In order t o t e s t these p r e d i c t i o n s a s e r i e s o f t - t e s t s were conducted  u s i n g the support measures as dependent v a r i a b l e s ,  and p r o v i d e r gender as t h e independent  variable.  S t r o n g l y supported these p r e d i c t i o n s .  Women expressed  g r e a t e r s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s (X = 20.45) than men 18.79), t (163) = 2.61, p_ < .01, endorsed encouraging/emotional men  Results  (X =  more  s u p p o r t i v e a c t i o n s (X = 96.74) than  (X = 88.35), t (163) = 4.24, p. < .001 and were more  likely  (X = 1.18) than men  (X = .78) t o v o l u n t e e r t o a c t as  a peer c o u n s e l o r , t (163) = 1.98, p < .05.  No p r e d i c t i o n s  were made r e g a r d i n g p r o v i d e r gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n w i l l i n g n e s s t o provide d i r e c t i v e or avoidant/enabling kinds of support, and none were found.  Next, t h e degree t o which t h e gender/support r e l a t i o n may  be a t t r i b u t e d t o gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathy was  examined. for  I t was h y p o t h e s i z e d t h a t one p o s s i b l e  explanation  gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n s u p p o r t i v e n e s s may l i e i n t h a t  women have t y p i c a l l y been found t o experience f e e l i n g s o f empathic emotion than men. i n empathy were t h e r e f o r e  greater  Gender d i f f e r e n c e s  examined by conducting t - t e s t s  u s i n g each o f t h e empathy measures as dependent v a r i a b l e s and  provider  gender as t h e independent v a r i a b l e .  Results  i n d i c a t e d s i g n i f i c a n t gender d i f f e r e n c e s on t h e v a r i a b l e s o f t r a i t empathic concern, t (163) personal and  d i s t r e s s , t (163)  = 2.80, p. < .01, and t r a i t  = 2.39, p < .05. As p r e d i c t e d ,  c o n s i s t e n t w i t h f i n d i n g s i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e , women tended  t o o b t a i n h i g h e r empathy scores measures, w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n  across  a l l o f t h e empathy  t h a t no gender d i f f e r e n c e was  found on t h e t r a i t p e r s p e c t i v e  taking subscale.  Thus, t h e  gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n s u p p o r t i v e n e s s i d e n t i f i e d may be a t t r i b u t a b l e t o male/female d i f f e r e n c e s i n t r a i t  empathic  concern, t h e only empathy subtype a s s o c i a t e d with both support and gender i n t h i s study. To t e s t t h i s , t h e e a r l i e r gender a n a l y s e s were conducted a second time as a s e r i e s o f ANCOVAs u s i n g t h e support v a r i a b l e s as dependent v a r i a b l e s , p r o v i d e r gender as the independent v a r i a b l e , and t r a i t empathic concern as t h e covariate.  To the extent t h a t the gender/support r e l a t i o n  i s accounted f o r by gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathic concern, t e s t s f o r s i g n i f i c a n c e on these v a r i a b l e s should be g r e a t l y  reduced i n s i g n i f i c a n c e , o r become n o n - s i g n i f i c a n t , when t h e e f f e c t o f empathic concern i s c o n t r o l l e d . was  found f o r these p r e d i c t i o n s .  concern e l i m i n a t e d  Partial  support  C o n t r o l l i n g f o r empathic  gender d i f f e r e n c e s o b t a i n e d on t h e  v a r i a b l e s o f g e n e r a l s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s , F (1, 162) = 1.94, ns.,  ns.,  and on t h e b e h a v i o r a l  measure, F (1, 162) = 2.18,  and s u b s t a n t i a l l y reduced gender d i f f e r e n c e s on t h e  encouraging/emotional s u b s c a l e , F (1, 162) = 10.74, p < .001 (F = 17.98 p r i o r t o a d d i t i o n o f c o v a r i a t e ) . differences  Thus, gender  i n t r a i t empathic concern appear t o account f o r  a s i g n i f i c a n t p o r t i o n o f t h e tendency f o r women t o p r o v i d e more support than men, a c c o u n t i n g f o r d i f f e r e n c e s  obtained  i n s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s and commitment t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r , and s t r o n g l y to indicate a greater  i n f l u e n c i n g t h e tendency f o r women  l i k e l i h o o d of providing  encouraging/emotional support than men. gender d i f f e r e n c e s  However, some  i n s u p p o r t i v e a c t i o n s appear independent  of empathy e f f e c t s . Recipient  Gender  Based on t h e f i n d i n g s o f past r e s e a r c h  i t was  h y p o t h e s i z e d t h a t female copers would be t h e r e c i p i e n t s o f more support than male copers.  A series of t-tests  using  gender o f r e c i p i e n t as t h e independent v a r i a b l e and t h e various  support measures as t h e dependent v a r i a b l e s  no support f o r t h i s p r e d i c t i o n .  yielded  No d i f f e r e n c e s were found  i n g e n e r a l s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n , t (163)  = 1.46, ns.;  w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e encouraging/emotional support, t  (163) = 1.09, ns; d i r e c t i v e support, t (163) = 1.22, ns; o r a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support, t (163) = .42, ns. A marginal main e f f e c t supported t h e p r e d i c t e d r e l a t i o n f o r t h e b e h a v i o r a l measure.  P a r t i c i p a n t s were somewhat more l i k e l y  t o commit t o a c t i n g as a peer c o u n s e l o r t o female copers (X = 1.16) than t o male copers (X = .80), t (163) = 1.73, p = .09. R e c i p i e n t ' s Expressed  Distress  Opposing p r e d i c t i o n s were made r e g a r d i n g t h e e f f e c t o f coper d i s t r e s s on s u p p o r t i v e n e s s and coper e v a l u a t i o n s . On the one hand, i t was suggested t h a t d i s t r e s s may i n c r e a s e n e g a t i v e e v a l u a t i o n s o f t h e coper ( a t t r a c t i v e n e s s and l i k i n g of t h e coper) and c r e a t e t h e impression t h a t t h e coper's r e a c t i o n i s i n a p p r o p r i a t e o r abnormal.  Thus, i n d i v i d u a l s  may i n d i c a t e a decreased w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support t o these c o p e r s .  On t h e o t h e r hand, w i t n e s s i n g an i n d i v i d u a l ' s  d i s t r e s s might  i n c r e a s e p e r c e p t i o n s of need f o r support (and  s e r i o u s n e s s o f t h e problem) and subsequently i n c r e a s e w i l l i n g n e s s t o p r o v i d e support.  E i t h e r tendency was  expected t o be enhanced i n t h e case o f male copers, and a three-way i n t e r a c t i o n w i t h p r o v i d e r gender was a l s o expected. To t e s t these hypotheses, a three-way ANOVA was conducted u s i n g t h e support measures as dependent v a r i a b l e s , and e m o t i o n a l i t y o f t h e v i d e o t a p e s , p r o v i d e r gender, and r e c i p i e n t gender as t h e independent v a r i a b l e s .  A marginal  main e f f e c t o f e m o t i o n a l i t y o f t h e coper was o b t a i n e d on t h e  36 v a r i a b l e of g e n e r a l s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n , F (1, 157)  =  3.66,  p = .06, w i t h p a r t i c i p a n t s i n d i c a t i n g g r e a t e r i n t e n t i o n t o support h i g h emotion copers than low emotion copers. tendency was  This  s i g n i f i c a n t w i t h regard t o the  encouraging/emotional  s u b s c a l e , F (1, 157)  = 6.10,  p. <  .05,  i n d i c a t i n g t h a t p a r t i c i p a n t s would be more l i k e l y t o p r o v i d e encouraging/emotional copers.  support t o h i g h than t o low emotion  However, no main e f f e c t was  o b t a i n e d on the  b e h a v i o r a l support measure, or on the d i r e c t i v e or a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g support s u b s c a l e s .  Overall,  distress  appeared t o have a p o s i t i v e , r a t h e r than n e g a t i v e i n f l u e n c e on support.  However, the e f f e c t was  i n t e n t i o n s and encouraging/emotional  l i m i t e d to supportive support;  behaviorally  equal amounts of support were o f f e r e d t o both the h i g h and low d i s t r e s s copers. The p r e d i c t e d r e c i p i e n t gender by d i s t r e s s e f f e c t was  interaction  marginal f o r the v a r i a b l e of s u p p o r t i v e  i n t e n t i o n , F (1, 157)  = 2.78,  p = .10.  The t r e n d was  for  p a r t i c i p a n t s to indicate greater supportive intentions i n response t o h i g h d i s t r e s s male copers r e l a t i v e t o  low  d i s t r e s s male copers, whereas l e v e l of d i s t r e s s d i d not a f f e c t s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s i n response t o female copers. The two-way i n t e r a c t i o n f a i l e d t o approach s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r any of the o t h e r support measures.  Thus, t h e r e was  little  support f o r the p r e d i c t i o n t h a t r e c i p i e n t gender i n t e r a c t s with d i s t r e s s t o i n f l u e n c e support.  The p r e d i c t e d three-way  i n t e r a c t i o n with p r o v i d e r gender was  not s i g n i f i c a n t f o r any  37 of the support measures, l e n d i n g no support f o r t h i s relation. The r e l a t i o n s between expressed emotion and  items  a s s e s s i n g p e r c e p t i o n s of the coper, the a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s of coping, and e v a l u a t i o n s of the problem were then examined. A s e r i e s of three-way ANOVAs u s i n g these measures as dependent v a r i a b l e s and coper d i s t r e s s , p r o v i d e r gender and r e c i p i e n t gender as independent v a r i a b l e s i n d i c a t e d a s i g n i f i c a n t main e f f e c t of d i s t r e s s o n l y on the v a r i a b l e s of l i k i n g f o r the coper [F (1, 155) = 7.03,  p. < .01, w i t h  p a r t i c i p a n t s i n d i c a t i n g g r e a t e r l i k i n g f o r h i g h emotion  than  f o r low emotion c o p e r s ] , and r a t i n g s of need f o r support, [F (1, 156) = 4.42,  p < .05], w i t h h i g h emotion copers seen as  needing more support than low emotion I t was  copers.  expected t h a t any tendency t o a l t e r p e r c e p t i o n s  of c o p i n g , the coper, or coper need f o r support, would be enhanced i n the case of male copers. was  obtained f o r t h i s p r e d i c t i o n .  Some minimal  support  A marginal two-way  i n t e r a c t i o n between r e c i p i e n t gender and coper emotion  was  o b t a i n e d on the v a r i a b l e of need f o r support, F (1, 156) 3.22,  E  =  .08.  Follow-up simple comparisons  =  indicated that  p a r t i c i p a n t s p e r c e i v e d h i g h emotion copers as needing more support o n l y when the coper was .05.  male, t (80) = 2.61,  E <  No d i f f e r e n c e s were found i n p e r c e i v e d need f o r  support w i t h r e g a r d t o h i g h and low emotion (81) = .23, n s . ) .  female copers ( t  There were no two-way i n t e r a c t i o n  on any of the other dependent v a r i a b l e s .  effects  38 L a s t , no support was o b t a i n e d f o r the p r e d i c t e d t h r e e way p r o v i d e r gender, by r e c i p i e n t gender, by coper emotion i n t e r a c t i o n f o r any o f these e v a l u a t i o n measures.  Overall,  these p a t t e r n s a r e c o n s i s t e n t w i t h f i n d i n g s u s i n g the support measures as dependent v a r i a b l e s .  I t appears t h a t  d i s t r e s s may i n f l u e n c e l i k i n g f o r the coper and p e r c e p t i o n s of need and thus may i n c r e a s e support.  Moreover,  minimal  evidence suggests t h a t d i s t r e s s may operate t o a l t e r p e r c e p t i o n s and subsequent support p r o v i s i o n ,  particularly  i n the case o f male copers. Model T e s t i n g In order t o s i m p l i f y and i n t e g r a t e the v a r i o u s p r e d i c t i o n s and f i n d i n g s a path model was c o n s t r u c t e d based on the o r i g i n a l hypotheses,  and some p o s s i b l e mediators  suggested by the e a r l i e r r e s u l t s .  In order t o s i m p l i f y the  model, v a r i a b l e s measuring s i m i l a r c o n s t r u c t s were combined. The v a r i a b l e s o f need f o r support  (1 i t e m ) , and s e r i o u s n e s s  of the coper's problem (2 items) were combined t o c r e a t e a category o f problem e v a l u a t i o n . v a r i a b l e was 0C=  .52.  Cronbach's alpha f o r t h i s  An e v a l u a t i o n o f the coping p o r t r a y a l  category was c r e a t e d by combining  r a t i n g s o f normalcy and  a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s o f the p o r t r a y a l  (2 i t e m s ) , and r a t i n g s o f  how admirably the student was c o p i n g (1 i t e m ) , o b t a i n i n g a Cronbach's o f 06 = .54. by combining  E v a l u a t i o n o f the coper was assessed  r a t i n g s o b t a i n e d on t h e 5-item  liking  scale  with s c o r e s on the 9-item b i p o l a r measure o f a t t r a c t i v e n e s s . I n t e r n a l c o n s i s t e n c y was h i g h f o r t h i s measure,Ol_= .89.  L a s t , an o v e r a l l s u p p o r t i v e n e s s  measure was  c r e a t e d by  summing p a r t i c i p a n t s ' s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n , b e h a v i o r a l commitment, and s c o r e s on the encouraging/emotional of the SAS.  Again,  measure,  .90.  i n t e r n a l c o n s i s t e n c y was  subscale  high f o r t h i s  A v i s u a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the model i s  depicted i n Figure  1.  I n s e r t F i g u r e 1 about here  The model was  t e s t e d through a s e r i e s of m u l t i p l e  r e g r e s s i o n a n a l y s e s , e n t e r i n g the v a r i a b l e t o be p r e d i c t e d as the dependent v a r i a b l e , and e n t e r i n g the p r e d i c t o r v a r i a b l e s , simultaneously, The model was manipulation variable.  a t step  one.  f i r s t t e s t e d u s i n g the dichotomous  of r e c i p i e n t emotion ( i . e . h i g h and  low)  as a  However, t h i s v a r i a b l e f a i l e d t o p r e d i c t any  the other v a r i a b l e s i n the model.  of  Because p a r t i c i p a n t s '  mean r a t i n g s of coper d i s t r e s s were q u i t e h i g h i n regard t o both the h i g h and low emotion videotapes  (X = 11.71  and X = 10.90  f o r low,  the model was  r e t e s t e d u s i n g the more s e n s i t i v e ,  f o r high  out of a p o s s i b l e h i g h score of  14),  continuous,  measure of p a r t i c i p a n t s ' r a t i n g s of coper d i s t r e s s as the v a r i a b l e of coper  emotion.  The r e s u l t s are d e p i c t e d i n F i g u r e  2.  40  I n s e r t F i g u r e 2 about here  In g e n e r a l support was  found f o r the model, although  some o f the paths added as p o s s i b l e mediators were not significant.  However, no support was  found f o r a few of the  predictions.  D i s p o s i t i o n a l empathic concern was  not found  t o be a s s o c i a t e d with e i t h e r e v a l u a t i o n s of the coping p o r t r a y a l , o r with e v a l u a t i o n s of problem Empathic  concern was  severity.  o n l y found t o be r e l a t e d t o s t a t e  empathic emotion, which, i n t u r n , was  found t o a f f e c t  e v a l u a t i o n s of the c o p i n g p o r t r a y a l , and e v a l u a t i o n s of problem s e v e r i t y .  T h i s i s s i m i l a r t o the f i n d i n g s r e g a r d i n g  perspective taking e f f e c t s .  I t was  also predicted that  coper d i s t r e s s would l e a d t o a heightened experience of empathic  emotion among p a r t i c i p a n t s .  a s s o c i a t i o n was  However, no  found between r a t i n g s of coper d i s t r e s s and  s t a t e empathic emotion.  Instead, t h i s v a r i a b l e worked  through e v a l u a t i o n s of the coper, the coper's problem, how  i t was  being handled.  and  I n t e r e s t i n g l y , the l a t t e r of  these l i n k s d i d not show the p r e d i c t e d r e l a t i o n t o support. E v a l u a t i o n s of the c o p i n g p o r t r a y a l and s u p p o r t i v e n e s s were unrelated. Discussion Research i n the area of s o c i a l support has focused p r i m a r i l y on the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of support i n a l l e v i a t i n g the  s t r e s s of n e g a t i v e l i f e events and on how (Dakof  (e.g. Cohen & W i l l s ,  r e c e i v e d support i s p e r c e i v e d by  & T a y l o r , 1990;  recipients  Lehman, E l l a r d , & Wortman, 1986).  L i t t l e e f f o r t has been d i r e c t e d toward examination importance  1985),  of the  of the p r o v i d e r i n determining support p r o v i s i o n ,  or which c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a coper are l i k e l y supportiveness i n others. determinants  to e l i c i t  Knowledge r e g a r d i n g the  of support p r o v i s i o n may  some copers f i n d themselves  surrounded  shed some l i g h t on  why  by s u p p o r t i v e o t h e r s  i n times o f need, while o t h e r s are l e f t alone t o d e a l w i t h their difficulties.  G a t h e r i n g i n f o r m a t i o n of t h i s k i n d  i n t u r n , be u s e f u l i n attempting t o i n c r e a s e the  may,  support  a v a i l a b l e t o i n d i v i d u a l s i n need. The p r e s e n t study i n v e s t i g a t e d the r o l e of s e v e r a l variables l i k e l y  t o be important  i n determining r e a c t i o n s t o  copers and the amount and k i n d s of support p r o f f e r e d . Strong support was  o b t a i n e d f o r most p r e d i c t i o n s .  Empathy has r e c e i v e d e x t e n s i v e r e s e a r c h a t t e n t i o n as a determinant  of p r o s o c i a l behavior d i r e c t e d toward s t r a n g e r s  i n emergency s i t u a t i o n s .  The p r e s e n t study p r o v i d e s  evidence f o r a s t r o n g a s s o c i a t i o n between empathy and support p r o v i s i o n .  Both s t a t e measures of empathic emotion  and t r a i t measures of empathic concern and p e r s p e c t i v e t a k i n g were important p r e d i c t o r s of s u p p o r t i v e n e s s .  The  s t r e n g t h of the a s s o c i a t i o n , however, v a r i e d w i t h the measure o f s u p p o r t i v e n e s s used.  Empathic emotion was  found  t o be s t r o n g l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h g e n e r a l i n t e n t i o n s t o p r o v i d e  support, and w i t h h y p o t h e t i c a l p r o v i s i o n o f encouraging/emotional  support b e h a v i o r s .  I t appears  that  i n d i v i d u a l s who a r e a b l e t o experience concern f o r the p l i g h t o f another f e e l more motivated t o come t o the a i d o f the coper, and hence, i n t e n t i o n s t o p r o v i d e support a r e enhanced.  However, empathy was o n l y moderately a s s o c i a t e d  w i t h commitment t o a c t as a peer c o u n s e l o r .  Presumably  other f a c t o r s e x e r t an i n f l u e n c e over s u p p o r t i v e n e s s a t the behavioral l e v e l . t o empathic  Perhaps i n d i v i d u a l s w i t h a p r e d i s p o s i t i o n  responding a l r e a d y devote much o f t h e i r time t o  h e l p i n g d i s t r e s s e d i n d i v i d u a l s i n t h e i r network, and t h e r e f o r e were prevented from peer v o l u n t e e r i n g due t o time and energy  constraints.  A l t e r n a t i v e l y , the d i f f e r e n c e s i n s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s evidenced between i n d i v i d u a l s h i g h and low i n empathy may have been muted a t t h e b e h a v i o r a l l e v e l by f e e l i n g s o f d i s c o m f o r t and incompetence. uncomfortable  P a r t i c i p a n t s may have f e l t  a t the p r o s p e c t o f v o l u n t e e r i n g t o o f f e r  support t o a s t r a n g e r , and these f e e l i n g s and doubts may have prevented some o f these i n d i v i d u a l s from  following  through on t h e i r s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s w i t h a b e h a v i o r a l commitment.  I f t h i s were t h e case one would expect t o f i n d  more c l e a r b e h a v i o r a l d i f f e r e n c e s between h i g h and low empathy i n d i v i d u a l s when p r o v i d i n g ' s u p p o r t t o a f r i e n d , r a t h e r than a s t r a n g e r , as was examined i n t h i s study.  In  the i n s t a n c e o f support p r o v i s i o n t o a f r i e n d i t i s l i k e l y t h a t f e e l i n g s o f d i s c o m f o r t and incompetence would be l e s s  of a b a r r i e r than i n t h e case of support p r o v i s i o n t o a stranger.  In order t o examine t h i s s u g g e s t i o n e m p i r i c a l l y ,  f u t u r e r e s e a r c h e r s c o u l d examine support p r o v i s i o n  patterns  of h i g h and low empathy i n d i v i d u a l s when the r e c i p i e n t i s a f r i e n d , r a t h e r than a Both p e r s p e c t i v e apparently associated a b i l i t y to increase emotion.  stranger. t a k i n g and empathic concern are w i t h s u p p o r t i v e n e s s , through t h e i r  s i t u a t i o n a l f e e l i n g s o f empathic  Both v a r i a b l e s f a i l e d t o produce an e f f e c t on  support when s t a t e empathy was c o n t r o l l e d .  A characteristic  tendency toward empathy may l e a d t o an i n c r e a s e of concern f o r s p e c i f i c v i c t i m s .  i n feelings  I t appears t h a t t h i s  heightened f e e l i n g o f s i t u a t i o n a l concern accounts f o r t h e r e l a t i o n between t r a i t empathy and s u p p o r t i v e n e s s . be due t o c o n s i d e r a b l e  overlap  construct  may  between t h e s t a t e and t r a i t  measures, r a t h e r than a t r u e process a n a l y s i s . i t may suggest s t r o n g  This  Nonetheless,  support f o r empathy as a v a l i d  i n f l u e n c i n g p r o s o c i a l behavior, r a t h e r than a  "zero-variable"  (Wicklund, 1990).  F i n a l l y , t r a i t p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s was found t o be unrelated  t o a t t i t u d e s toward support p r o v i s i o n , but showed  a r e l a t i o n t o measures more s t r o n g l y Findings  i n d i c a t i v e of behavior.  i n d i c a t e d t h a t h i g h and low p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s  i n d i v i d u a l s do not d i f f e r i n t h e i r s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s , o r in hypothetical  p r o v i s i o n o f encouraging/emotional  supportive behaviors.  I t seems t h a t the amount of s e l f -  focused d i s t r e s s one e x p e r i e n c e s when c o n f r o n t e d w i t h an  44  i n d i v i d u a l i n need has no e f f e c t on how intends t o p r o v i d e .  much support  one  However, when f a c e d w i t h a coper i n  need h i g h p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s i n d i v i d u a l s are l e s s l i k e l y  than  low p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s i n d i v i d u a l s t o v o l u n t e e r t o have c o n t a c t w i t h t h i s person, presumably because t o do so would be too u p s e t t i n g .  T h i s i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h the f i n d i n g t h a t  i n d i v i d u a l s h i g h i n p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s i n d i c a t e d t h a t they were more l i k e l y than low d i s t r e s s i n d i v i d u a l s t o respond t o a coper i n an a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g f a s h i o n , a p p a r e n t l y as a r e s u l t of t h e i r f e e l i n g s of d i s t r e s s . P r o v i d e r gender was  a l s o hypothesized as an  determinant of support p r o v i s i o n , and was  important  expected t o  operate through gender r o l e s , gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathy, or both.  As expected, women i n d i c a t e d g r e a t e r s u p p o r t i v e  i n t e n t i o n s and b e h a v i o r s than men.  A l s o as expected, a  s i g n i f i c a n t p o r t i o n of t h i s tendency was  attributable to  gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathic  Controlling for  empathic  emotion.  emotion e l i m i n a t e d gender d i f f e r e n c e s on the  v a r i a b l e s of s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s and peer v o l u n t e e r i n g commitment, s u g g e s t i n g t h a t w h i l e gender r o l e s  undoubtedly  e x e r t an i n f l u e n c e i n d e t e r m i n i n g support p r o v i s i o n , i n c r e a s e s i n the emotional response of males t o the p l i g h t of  an u n f o r t u n a t e o t h e r would presumably l e s s e n the p r e s e n t  gap between male and female s u p p o r t i v e n e s s . However, w h i l e c o n t r o l l i n g f o r gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathic  emotion reduced the s t r e n g t h of gender d i f f e r e n c e s  i n the p r o v i s i o n of encouraging/emotional  support, a  s i g n i f i c a n t gender e f f e c t remained.  T h e r e f o r e , i t appears  t h a t gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n the p r o v i s i o n of encouraging/emotional support may roles.  be c l o s e l y t i e d t o gender  Women have been found t o have g r e a t e r emotional  involvement than men  i n the l i v e s of those around them  ( K e s s l e r & McLeod, 1984), and hence, are more l i k e l y than men  t o p r o v i d e f o r the emotional needs of o t h e r s . While one might expect t h a t gender r o l e s would a l s o  i n f l u e n c e s u p p o r t i v e n e s s such t h a t a gender d i f f e r e n c e would remain w i t h r e g a r d t o the b e h a v i o r a l measure a f t e r c o n t r o l l i n g f o r gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n empathy, the b e h a v i o r a l measure used i n t h i s study d i d not t a p the emotional support domain.  Instead, the b e h a v i o r s r e q u i r e d  i n t h i s measure were l e s s s t r o n g l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h gender roles  ( i . e . meet the coper f o r lunch o r a t a p a r t y , t a l k t o  the coper by phone, or v o l u n t e e r t o a c t as a peer counselor).  Agreement t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n any of these  a c t i v i t i e s d i d not n e c e s s a r i l y r e q u i r e t h a t emotional support be o f f e r e d .  While some p a r t i c i p a n t s may  have  intended t o p r o v i d e such emotional support when v o l u n t e e r i n g , i n d i v i d u a l s c o u l d have v o l u n t e e r e d without ever i n t e n d i n g t o p r o v i d e such a s s i s t a n c e . R e c i p i e n t d i s t r e s s was  found t o a f f e c t support  p r o v i s i o n by i n c r e a s i n g s u p p o r t i v e i n t e n t i o n s and h y p o t h e t i c a l p r o v i s i o n of encouraging/emotional s u p p o r t i v e actions. operates.  I t i s u n c l e a r , however, how  this variable  P a r t i c i p a n t s expressed g r e a t e r l i k i n g f o r the  h i g h d i s t r e s s copers, but i n g e n e r a l d i s t r e s s d i d not i n f l u e n c e r a t i n g s o f a t t r a c t i v e n e s s . The tendency f o r h i g h d i s t r e s s copers t o r e c e i v e more support than low d i s t r e s s copers may, i n p a r t , be e x p l a i n e d by the f i n d i n g t h a t heightened  e x p r e s s i o n s o f d i s t r e s s serve as a s i g n a l t o  p o t e n t i a l p r o v i d e r s t h a t g r e a t e r support i s needed.  This  e f f e c t , however, appears t o h o l d o n l y i n t h e case o f male copers.  P e r c e p t i o n s o f a male coper's need i n c r e a s e d when  the male was h i g h l y emotional, and m a r g i n a l l y i n c r e a s e d support t o him on one measure.  P e r c e p t i o n s o f a female  coper's need remained c o n s t a n t a c r o s s t h e h i g h and low emotion coping p o r t r a y a l s , as d i d the support she was provided.  I t appears t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s f a c e d w i t h an  emotional male p e r c e i v e the r o l e - i n c o n s i s t e n t e x p r e s s i o n o f d i s t r e s s as a s i g n a l t h a t a g r e a t d e a l o f support i s needed, and hence, i n t e n t i o n t o p r o v i d e support t o emotional  males  i s enhanced. Whether o r not d i s t r e s s a f f e c t s a c t u a l s u p p o r t i v e behavior a l s o remains u n c l e a r .  While coper  distress  marginally affected i n d i v i d u a l s supportive intentions, i t f a i l e d t o e x e r t an e f f e c t on t h e i r b e h a v i o r s .  T h i s may be  due t o t h e r e l a t i v e i n s e n s i t i v i t y o f the b e h a v i o r a l measure of support  ( v o l u n t e e r i n g ) , combined w i t h the h i g h l e v e l s o f  d i s t r e s s d i s p l a y e d i n both experimental emotion.  conditions of  The f i n d i n g s u s i n g d i s t r e s s r a t i n g s as an i n t e r v a l  measure shed l i g h t on t h i s i s s u e .  When t h i s  continuous  v a r i a b l e i s used t o p r e d i c t e v a l u a t i o n s o f t h e coping  episode and subsequent g e n e r a l support, d i s t r e s s does appear t o be of some t h e o r e t i c a l import.  Distress affected  e v a l u a t i o n s of the coper, h i s or her behavior, and of the coper's need f o r a s s i s t a n c e .  Coper and problem e v a l u a t i o n s ,  i n t u r n , p r e d i c t e d support. The  f i n d i n g s r e g a r d i n g e v a l u a t i o n s o f the coping  p o r t r a y a l are c o n s i s t e n t w i t h p r e v i o u s f i n d i n g s of Coates e t al.  (1979), and S i l v e r e t a l . (1990), i n d i c a t i n g t h a t h i g h l y  d i s t r e s s e d copers are viewed as l e s s normal and more maladjusted  than l e s s d i s t r e s s e d copers.  However, w h i l e  S i l v e r e t a l . (1990) and Coates e t a l . (1979) found t h a t h i g h d i s t r e s s copers were r a t e d as l e s s l i k e a b l e  and  a t t r a c t i v e than low d i s t r e s s copers, the o p p o s i t e r e s u l t s were o b t a i n e d i n t h i s study.  As noted e a r l i e r , however,  m a n i p u l a t i o n of d i s t r e s s i n both the Coates e t a l . (1979), and S i l v e r e t a l . (1990) s t u d i e s confounded e x p r e s s i o n s of affect  ( n e g a t i v e and p o s i t i v e ) and outlook ( p e s s i m i s t i c  and  o p t i m i s t i c ) , such t h a t "poor copers" not o n l y expressed more n e g a t i v e a f f e c t , but were a l s o more p e s s i m i s t i c r e g a r d i n g t h e i r circumstances than "good copers".  Therefore, given  the f i n d i n g s of the p r e s e n t study i t appears t h a t e x p r e s s i o n s of n e g a t i v e a f f e c t may  i n f a c t enhance support  p r o v i s i o n , and t h a t the n e g a t i v e e f f e c t s of "poor c o p i n g " as examined i n Coates e t a l . (1979) and S i l v e r e t a l . (1990), may  be a t t r i b u t a b l e t o the pessimism  expressed by these  i n d i v i d u a l s , r a t h e r than the n e g a t i v e a f f e c t per se.  48 The and  path a n a l y t i c approach allowed  for simplification  i n t e g r a t i o n of f i n d i n g s by u s i n g these  evaluative  measures t o e x p l a i n the process by which gender, empathy, and d i s t r e s s might i n f l u e n c e support.  Perhaps the most  s u r p r i s i n g r e v e l a t i o n of these analyses was  the f a i l u r e t o  f i n d a r e l a t i o n between e v a l u a t i o n s of an i n d i v i d u a l ' s coping s t r a t e g y and support  provision.  s t r a t e g i e s were deemed more abnormal and  High d i s t r e s s coping i n a p p r o p r i a t e than  low d i s t r e s s s t r a t e g i e s , however, these e v a l u a t i o n s to influence supportiveness.  failed  Perhaps e v a l u a t i o n s of the  coping s t r a t e g y i n f l u e n c e support  only i n d i r e c t l y  by  a f f e c t i n g e v a l u a t i o n s of the coper, which i n t u r n i n f l u e n c e s supportiveness.  However, t h i s f i n d i n g c o u l d a l s o r e f l e c t a  problem of m u l t i c o l l i n e a r i t y w i t h i n the model.  A l l of the  v a r i a b l e s i n the model were h i g h l y c o r r e l a t e d , and v a l u e s are thus l i k e l y t o be r e l a t i v e l y  path  unstable.  The m u l t i c o l l i n e a r i t y of the model n e c e s s i t a t e s c a u t i o n i n i n t e r p r e t i n g any of the path a s s o c i a t i o n s . gain confidence  In order t o  i n these r e s u l t s i t i s important  that a  s i m i l a r model be t e s t e d i n f u t u r e s t u d i e s , employing d i f f e r e n t measures of the v a r i a b l e s t o determine the c o n s i s t e n c y with which these path v a l u e s are  obtained.  Conclusion The  present data p r o v i d e important  determinants of s u p p o r t i v e n e s s , which may  i n s i g h t s i n t o the  and p r o v i d e  information  be u s e f u l i n attempts t o enhance the  a v a i l a b l e t o i n d i v i d u a l s i n need.  support  Instructions to p o t e n t i a l  c a r e g i v e r s ( i . e . the spouses and f a m i l y members of v i c t i m i z e d i n d i v i d u a l s ) t o take the p e r s p e c t i v e of the coper, and thereby i n c r e a s e f e e l i n g s of empathic emotion i n response  t o the coper, may  serve t o i n c r e a s e the  s u p p o r t i v e n e s s of both male and female p r o v i d e r s a l i k e . a d d i t i o n , copers may  b e n e f i t from i n s t r u c t i o n t o  In  express  t h e i r d i s t r e s s , as t o do so appears t o i n c r e a s e l i k i n g f o r the coper as w e l l as a c t i n g as a s i g n a l t o p o t e n t i a l c a r e g i v e r s t h a t support i s needed.  However, t h e r e i s l i k e l y  t o be a l i m i t beyond which e x c e s s i v e e m o t i o n a l i t y , or ongoing e x p r e s s i o n s of n e g a t i v e emotion, may  actually  be  d e t r i m e n t a l t o attempts t o r e c e i v e support. I t c o u l d be t h a t a t extreme l e v e l s e x p r e s s i o n of d i s t r e s s l e a d s t o f e e l i n g s of p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s i n p o t e n t i a l c a r e g i v e r s , thereby l e a d i n g t o a decrease  i n w i l l i n g n e s s to  i n t e r a c t w i t h the coper, as doing so would be too u p s e t t i n g , and an i n c r e a s e i n the tendency t o respond an a v o i d a n t / e n a b l i n g f a s h i o n .  t o the coper i n  E x a c t l y what the optimal  l e v e l of d i s t r e s s e x p r e s s i o n i s remains u n c l e a r , and i s l i k e l y t o be somewhat dependent on such c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the p a r t i c u l a r c a r e g i v e r as d i s p o s i t i o n a l tendency t o experience empathy, p a r t i c u l a r l y p e r s o n a l d i s t r e s s .  50 References Aderman, D. & Berkowitz, L. (1970). O b s e r v a t i o n a l s e t , empathy, and h e l p i n g . 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Sarason, B.R. Sarason, & G.R. P i e r c e (Eds.), S o c i a l support: An i n t e r a c t i o n a l view (pp. 397-426). New York: Wiley. T o i , M. & Batson, C D . (1982). More evidence t h a t empathy i s a source o f a l t r u i s t i c m o t i v a t i o n . J o u r n a l of P e r s o n a l i t y and S o c i a l Psychology, 43, 281-292. T r o b s t , K.K., C o l l i n s , R.L., & Embree, J.M. (1991). P r o v i d e r f a c t o r s i n p r o v i s i o n of support: Empathy, p e r s o n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and gender e f f e c t s . Unpublished Manuscript. Underwood, B., & Moore, B. (1982). P e r s p e c t i v e - t a k i n g and altruism. P s y c h o l o g i c a l B u l l e t i n , 91, 143-173. Vaux, A. (1986). V a r i a t i o n s i n s o c i a l support a s s o c i a t e d w i t h gender, e t h n i c i t y , and age. J o u r n a l o f S o c i a l Issues, 41 89-110. f  Wicklund, R.A. (1990). Z e r o - v a r i a b l e t h e o r i e s i n the a n a l y s i s of s o c i a l phenomena. European J o u r n a l of P e r s o n a l i t y , 4, 37-55. Zarbatany, L., Hartman, D.P., G e l f a n d , D.M., & V i n c i g u e r r a , P. (1985). Gender d i f f e r e n c e s i n a l t r u i s t i c r e p u t a t i o n : Are they a r t i f a c t u a l ? Deve1opmenta1 Psychology. 21, 97-101.  Table 1 I n t e r c o r r e l a t i o n s between empathy and support measures  EMPATHIC CONCERN  PERSPECTIVE TAKING  PERSONAL DISTRESS  STATE EMPATHY  GENERAL SUPPORT  r = .51 p < .001  r = .33 E < .001  r = .02 E = .39  r = .55 E < .001  EMOTIONAL/ ENCOURAGING  r = .46 p < .001  r = .29 E < .001  r = .06 E = -22  r = .40 E < .001  DIRECTIVE SUPPORT  r = .03 p = . 35  r = .08 p = .17  r = .13 E = -06  r = .03 E = -34  AVOIDANT/ ENABLING  r = .01 p = .47  r = -.12 E = .07  r = .22 E < -01  r = .03 E = .33  PEER VOLUNTEER  r = .20 _ E < .01  r = .19 E < .01  r = -.13 E = -05  r = .23 E < .01  55  F i g u r e Caption F i g u r e 1.  P r e d i c t e d model of a s s o c i a t i o n between v a r i a b l e s .  Figure 1  GENDER  TRAIT EMPATHIC CONCERN  EVALUATION OF COPING  STATE EMPATHIC EMOTION  COPER EVALUATION  COPER EMOTION  PROBLEM EVALUATION  SUPPORT  Ln ON  57  Figure Caption F i g u r e 2.  Obtained model of a s s o c i a t i o n between v a r i a b l e s .  Figure 2  Values are beta weights.  .26  * p <  .05  ***  ** p <  .01  *** p <  .001  Publications Collins, R.L., & Trobst, K.K. (1991). Chronic self-esteem and reactions to social comparison information under conditions of threat: It's who you are, not who you're with. Manuscript in preparation. Collins, R.L., Trobst, K.K., & Embree, J.M. (1991). Social comparison through social interaction: Processes and effects. Manuscript in preparation. Trobst, K.K., Collins, R.L., & Embree, J.M. (1991). Determinants of support provision: Provider and recipient factors. Manuscript in preparation. Ellard, J.H., & Trobst, K.K. (1991). Belief in a just world and reactions to a cancer victim: The role of blame and recovery. Manuscript in preparation.  

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