High-Quality Listening Supports Speakers' Autonomy and Self-Esteem when Discussing Prejudice

Guy Itzchakov, Netta Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined how the experience of high-quality listening (attentive, empathic, and nonjudgmental) impacts speakers' basic psychological needs and state self-esteem when discussing the difficult topic of a prejudiced attitude. Specifically, we hypothesized that when speakers discuss a prejudiced attitude with high-quality listeners, they experience higher autonomy, relatedness, and self-esteem than speakers who share their prejudiced attitude while experiencing moderate listening. We predicted that autonomy need satisfaction would mediate the effect of listening on speakers' self-esteem even when relatedness, a well-documented predictor of self-esteem, is controlled for in mediation models. Two experiments that manipulated listening through in-person interactions with high-quality or moderate listeners supported these hypotheses. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, with a focus on the role of experiencing high-quality listening for speakers' state self-esteem during difficult conversations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-283
Number of pages36
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Communication Association. All rights reserved.


  • Autonomy
  • Interpersonal Listening
  • Prejudice
  • Relatedness
  • Self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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