The study, based on in-depth structured interviews with 90 hairdressers, had three main purposes: 1) to identify clusters of personal problems that customers bring to the beauty shop, handling strategies hairdressers use to address those problems and their feelings in so doing; 2) to relate those clusters to hairdressers' personal and work-characteristics and to their attitudes toward interpersonal help-giving; and 3) to illustrate the differential helpgiving patterns of hairdressers with different demographic or attitudinal qualities.
The personal problems fielded by hairdressers, their handling strategies and their feeling reactions all fell into compact, meaningful structures. Those variables related systematically to hairdresser qualities. For example, female hairdressers were more help-oriented and judged to be more effective helpers, than males.
With growing recognition of the extent and importance of informal helpgiving processes, we need to understand better how these processes work, and how effective they are with different types of helper groups and under circumstances that differ from the special ecology of the beauty shop. Such information is needed to harness a greater share of society's interpersonal helpgiving potential.
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The authors express their appreciation to Michael DeStefano, Mary Boike and Pennie Norton for their contributions to the study.
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Cowen, E.L., Gesten, E.L., Davidson, E. et al. Hairdressers as caregivers II: Relationships between helper characteristics and helping behaviors and feelings. J Primary Prevent 1, 225–239 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01158985