, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 685-700

Perceptions of social support, receipt of supportive behaviors, and locus of control as moderators of the effects of chronic stress

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Although the cross-sectional methodology of the present study limits causal inference, the results concerning the buffering effects of received social support for those who have perceptions of internal locus of control corroborates previous research and thus suggests that causal interpretations offered may have some validity.

Several general conclusions appear justified from the present study. First, it appears a measure of social support that asks respondents to report on the receipt of particular supportive actions yields different information than a measure that asks respondents to rate the amount of support available to them. Second, perceptions of internal locus of control in combination with receipt of supportive behaviors has a stress-buffering effect. Third, perceptions concerning locus of control appear important in determining the direct and moderating effects of perceived social support on psychological distress. Finally, the interpretation of social support by stress interactions in which support acts as a “negative buffer,” i.e., increases the stress-symptom relation, may increase our understanding of the role of social support in coping with stress.