Using Appraisal Theory to Predict Emotional and Coping Responses to Hurtful Messages
Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
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AbstractBased on appraisal theory (Lazarus 1991; 1999), this study examined the degree to which primary and secondary cognitive appraisals of hurtful messages predict the amountof hurt individuals feel, and the coping behaviors they enact. This study presents a significant step forward in its operationalization of both primary and secondary appraisal variables by treating hurt as an outcome, rather than an antecedent, of the appraisal process, and considers an extensive range of coping responses. We surveyed participants (N = 217) about hurtful messages they received within an array of relationship types. The results revealed that fours types of appraisals predicted the amount of hurt recipients experienced. All coping behaviors except positive reappraisal were significantly predicted by the primary appraisals (categories of risk) and secondary appraisals (perceived intentionality and frequency of hurtful messages). The findings explicate appraisal theory’s potential in explaining individuals’ responses to hurtful communication.