Hairdressers as Caregivers: I: A Descriptive Profile of Interpersonal Help-Giving Involvements

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The interpersonal help-giving behaviors of 90 hairdressers were explored in depth in an interview study. On average, hairdressers saw 55 customers a week, talked 25 minutes with each. About one-third of the talking time concerned clients’ moderate to serious personal problems – particularly problems with children, physical health, marriage, depression, and anxiety. Hairdressers reported that offering sympathy and support, being lighthearted, just listening, and presenting alternatives were among their most frequent response strategies. Although they often enjoyed fielding clients’ personal problems, at times they felt perplexed by them. Hair dressers perceived listening to customers’ interpersonal problems to be an important part of their everyday function and expressed a need for professional inputs in that domain.

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American Journal of Community Psychology, v. 7, issue 6, p. 633-648