Tend and Befriend theory specifies interpersonal stress responses women utilize; we studied them at the individual and dyadic levels using the Social Relations Model (SRM). Speaking about stressful life events with another woman perceived as listening attentively and with interest was predicted to engender interpersonal closeness and stress reduction. In 265 dyads, women discussed stressful events with at least three other women. Then, they judged their own and their partners’ listening quality. Each predicted their partner’s judgment of their listening. Women also rated interpersonal closeness to their partners, their partners’ closeness to them, and stress. SRM revealed individual and dyadic effects on listening, interpersonal closeness, and stress. We used the SRM effect estimates in individual and dyadic phenomenological listening models. Modeling supported the prediction that perceived listening quality impacts interpersonal closeness and stress reduction. The result extended Tend and Befriend theory by demonstrating individual and dyadic support mechanisms at zero-acquaintance. The results also extended Relational Regulation Theory by showing that even conversations about stress can reduce it.
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