Evaluations of Overhelping and Underhelping Communication Conference Paper uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • Older adults and persons with disability experience communication predicaments involving inappropriate help. In a retail setting, the authors examined the meanings of overhelping and underhelping and how these may be affected by the recipient's age and (dis)ability status. Young adults ( n= 221) were presented with a picture of either a young or an older target seated in an armchair or a wheelchair. Participants then read three different conversations across which their target was addressed in professional, overhelping, or underhelping speech styles. Salesperson overhelping style was associated with the most exaggerated intonation. Compared to the professional, overhelping led to downgrading of customer satisfaction and salesperson effectiveness. “Blametherecipient” effects occurred in evaluations of both underhelped and overhelped customers. The customer in a wheelchair was rated more competent than the seated target regardless of age or salesperson style. Future research will focus on assertiveness options for managing needed or unwanted help.

publication date

  • March 2006