Affiliations: Computing Science, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK | University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
Note:  Corresponding author: Kirsten A. Smith, Computing Science, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK. Tel./Fax: +44 0 1224 272839; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Carers - people who provide regular support for a friend or relative who could not manage without them - frequently report high levels of stress. Good emotional support could help relieve this stress. This study uses seven scenarios that depict different types of stress and acquires emotional support messages for them. We then categorize and evaluate the emotional support for different types of stress. We found that telling the carer they are appreciated and offering support are the best types of emotional support. Additionally, we found that how well a supporter sympathises with a situation affects the type of support they consider suitable. We describe and evaluate an algorithm that selects different categories of support to be used by an intelligent virtual agent to provide emotional support to carers experiencing different types of stress.