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Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 3–22 | Cite as

The face of repressive coping: Social context and the display of hostile expressions and social smiles

  • Tamara L. Newton
  • Jeannette M. Haviland
  • Richard J. Contrada
Article

Abstract

The present study examined the nonverbal correlates of repressive coping, extending previous research in two ways: (1) participants' nonverbal behaviors were observed in either of two conditions that differed with respect to the salience of public identity; (2) an anatomically-based facial coding system was used to assess participants' emotion expressions and symbolic communication behaviors. Sixty female undergraduates, classified as repressive, low-anxious, or high-anxious, were videotaped during the preparation and delivery of a self-disclosing speech. During both the preparation and delivery, the salience of participants' public identities was either minimized (low-salience condition) or maximized (high-salience condition). Repressors and nonrepressors exhibited similar frequencies of hostile facial expressions. Repressors differed from nonrepressors by their frequent expressions of social smiles and conversational illustrators when their public selves were most salient. These findings suggest that certain symbolic communication behaviors may be nonverbal analogues of cognitive coping processes, and they support the utility of including expressive behaviors in conceptualizations of emotion-focused coping.

Keywords

Facial Expression Emotion Expression Code System Similar Frequency Nonverbal Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamara L. Newton
    • 1
  • Jeannette M. Haviland
  • Richard J. Contrada
  1. 1.Women's Health Sciences Division, National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 116 B-3Boston VA Medical CenterBoston

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