School of Communication and the Arts
Master of Arts in Communication (MA)
denomination, worship, nonverbal communication, music, expressiveness, norms
Smith, Holly Alexandria Vasiliki, "An Analysis of Nonverbal Communication Behaviors Enacted by Christian Worshipers of Various Denominations" (2023). Masters Theses. 997.
This study seeks to determine how members of different denominations use nonverbal communication in their worship practices within the Christian faith. Previous studies have looked at specific elements related to music, classified the common behaviors and beliefs of denominations, and provided descriptions of nonverbal communication cues. However, no study has looked at the intersection of these factors. In order to determine how members of different denominations use nonverbal communication in their worship practices, a qualitative data gathering method in the form of an open-ended survey was distributed to 40 participants of a preliminary screening survey, providing 26 responses. Participants were of Nondenominational, Baptist, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox denominations. Aside from finding overarching themes and commonalities between individuals of the same denomination, denominations members of diverse denominations reported differences in expressiveness, comfort, and appropriateness in enacting certain forms of nonverbal communication, willingness to explore worship beyond customary denominational tradition, and absence of particular nonverbal communication cues. Due to the limited amount of participants in this study, and the overall lack of denominational diversity represented, these findings cannot be representative of denominational norms.