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Theory, Research and Practice

Psychology of Well-Being Cover Image

Table 2 Six styles of communication in self-improvement tools

From: Communication Styles of Interactive Tools for Self-Improvement

Style of communication Frequency:# mentions (# participants) Central aspects, characterizations Sample statement
Helpful-cooperative 41 (15) Friendly instructor, motivator, caring “Then it said something like: “It’s not that bad. It happens. Have you checked your water intake and your vegetable consumption? Keep that in mind. If this doesn’t help, try eating less fruit and more vegetables.” Advice like that”
Diligent-determining-controlling 33 (13) Personal trainer, strict “I wouldn’t call it a drill sergeant, but it is a bit like a personal trainer, who tells you to work out now, about the upcoming exercise and how long it will take and when to take breaks, but it’s also motivating”
Rational-distanced 21 (11) Neutral assistant, reasonable “The app is quite neutral and rational, less personal”
Critical-aggressive-demeaning 17 (8) Drill sergeant, mean, tough “It just shows you your slowest time of your entire run and there is a tortoise symbol and the fastest part has […] a hare symbol or something similar. That is somehow mean and rubs salt into the wound”
Self-praising-dramatizing 11 (7) Drama queen, exaggerating “Today you have exceeded your daily limit. And then there is always this notification: “If you ate that or that over the next few days and weeks, you would weigh so or so much.” So it likes to dramatize things as well”
Selfless-sensitive-avoiding 2 (2) Cautious, timid “It (the product) tries to address this uncomfortable topic in a very kind, reserved way”