Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




William R. Dobson


Richard Crapo


The relationship between approach, avoidance and congruent postures and the experience of rapport was investigated. Sixty undergraduate college students (30 male, 30 female) were interviewed by a therapist who displayed either approach postures, avoidance postures or who posture shared. The degree of rapport experienced by the 20 subjects in the three groups was compared. In addition, the subjects' behaviors were divided into four groups (n = 11, or 19) along two orthogonal dimensions (high and low congruency and immediacy) and the degree of rapport experienced by the four groups compared. No statistically significant results were found in either analysis. An attempt was made to control for three crucial external variables: the therapist's degree of eye contact and smiling, and the verbal content of the interviews. Directions for future research were discussed with a focus on naturalistic study in the future.

A self report measure of rapport was developed called the Rapport Experience Test (RET). The RET was designed to assess the successful communication of accurate empathy, unconditional positive regard and emotional congruence.Measures of internal consistency (Chronbach alpha) and test-retest reliability were obtained. These measures suggest that the RET may be a useful device for further research. Face validity was discussed.



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