Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School

Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Hayden Barber


Existential philosopher Karl Jaspers’s theory (1932/1970; 1935/1971b) of existential communication is understood to be his most important contribution to existentialism. Additionally, this theory has unique ties to the phenomena of communication, begging its use as a dialogic theory. However, Jaspers’s theory has been relatively untouched by academia. This thesis understands the theory of existential communication through an operationalization of its aspects and explicitly connecting them to communicative behaviors. These aspects of existential communication are (1) vulnerability, (2) open-mindedness, and (3) equality. This study set out to determine whether these aspects could be found within mentoring relationships and support the aspects related to mentoring satisfaction. The results indicated that all three aspects are found in some mentoring relationships; however, only the aspect of open-mindedness has a significantly positive relation to mentoring satisfaction. Thus, it may be beneficial for mentoring programs to provide education for both mentors and mentees to exhibit the communicative behavior of open-mindedness. Future research should continue to test this operationalization of the theory of existential communication through different contexts and methodologies.


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright