Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 1992

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Richard P. Schellenberg

Abstract

Although there have been a considerable number of empirical findings providing evidence for the beneficial effects of social support on psychological and physical well being, the research has been limited in that it has often failed to determine which specific types of social support are most effective in helping people cope with different types of stressors. The purpose of this study was to test hypotheses derived from a recently presented specificity model by Cutrona and Russell (1990) in which they predicted which specific types of social support would be most effective with particular stressors. A secondary purpose of this study was to attempt to replicate results of a study recently conducted by Wadkins (1991) in which she asked if particular types of social support are effective in helping persons cope with threats as compared to their effectiveness in helping persons cope with challenges. A sample of 160 students was asked to complete questionnaires that measured types of perceived social support, intensity of negative effect associated with identified threats and challenges, and mood levels. It was hypothesized that instrumental social support and esteem social support would be more effective in helping people cope with challenges than threats, and that emotional social support would be more effective in helping people cope with threats than challenges. Although these hypotheses were not supported by this research, results did yield a significant interaction suggesting that appraisal social support buffers the negative effects of individuals experiencing threats. Moreover, one other significant interaction suggested that participants benefitted from overall (types combined) social support when coping with threats.

Rights

Copyright 1992 Kelli Pfau-Johnson

Comments

Notice: This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

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