Signal Delay Effects on Rapport in Telepsychiatry
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Video-mediated communication research has shown that telecommunication signal delay can cause difficulty in interpersonal coordination of conversation. Studies of rapport suggest that interpersonal coordination is an important aspect of rapport. This study investigated the effect of signal delay on the level of rapport in quasi-psychotherapy sessions (stress evaluation). Video conference counseling sessions were conducted with three levels of signal delay, zero, 300 ms, and 1,000 ms. These were compared to face-to-face counseling sessions. Three male counselors conducted the sessions. Forty-eight client participants, primarily male and female college students, were enrolled in the stress evaluations. The level of client perceived rapport was measured using a self-report instrument administered following the session. The results did not provide evidence for an effect on rapport from delay when considering males and females together. However, males and females were found to respond differently regarding rapport. While no significant differences in rapport were found for males, females scored lower for rapport in the face-to-face condition than in the zero delay and the 300 ms delay condition. These differences may be attributed to the medium rather than to signal delay. Females may have felt more comfortable with unfamiliar male counselors in the video conferences because of the isolation provided, an effect that may have therapeutic application.
author list (cited authors)
Manning, T. R., Goetz, E. T., & Street, R. L.