Conceptualizing and Assessing Social Support in the Context of the Family

  • Gregory R. Pierce
  • Barbara R. Sarason
  • Irwin G. Sarason
  • Helene J. Joseph
  • Ciarda A. Henderson
Chapter
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)

Abstract

Social support and family researchers have made enormous strides in documenting the many links between the supportive elements within family relationships, on one hand, and important personal outcomes, such as psychological adjustment, on the other. These efforts have contributed to a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of the social support construct and to recognition that the impact that supportive relationships have on personal outcomes is complex and requires attention to a broad range of pertinent variables. Despite these impressive developments, several topics—topics that lie at the heart of research on social support and the family—still need to be addressed. This chapter examines some of these topics and seeks to offer a new perspective from which to examine them.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baldwin, M. W. (1992) Relational schemas and the processing of social information. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 461–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrera, M. Jr. (1981). Social support in the adjustment of pregnant adolescents: Assessment issues. In B. H. Gottlieb (Ed.), Social networks and sodai support (pp. 69–96). Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss, Vol. 3, Loss: Sadness and depression. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  4. Brubaker, T. H. (Ed.) (1990). Family relationships in later life. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  5. Caruso, G.-A. L. (1992) The development of three scales to measure the supportiveness of relationships between parents and child care providers. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 52, 146–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark, M. S. (1983). Some implications of close social bonds for help-seeking. In B. M. DePaulo, A. Nadler, & J. D. Fisher (Eds.), New directions in helping, Vol. 2, Help-seeking (pp. 205–233). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985) Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98, 310–357.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Compas, B. E. (1987) Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 393–403.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coyne, J. C., Ellard, J. H., & Smith, D. A. F. (1990). Social support, interdependence, and the dilemmas of helping. In B. R. Sarason, I. G. Sarason, & G. R. Pierce (Eds.), Social support: An interactional view (pp. 129–149). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  10. Cutrona, C. E., & Russell, D. (1987). The provisions of social relationships and adaptation to stress. In W. H. Jones & D. Perlman (Eds.), Advances in personal relationships, Vol. 1 (pp. 37–67). Greenwich, CT: JAJ.Google Scholar
  11. Cutrona, C. E., & Suhr, J. A. (1994). Social support communication in the context of marriage: An analysis of couples’ supportive interactions. In B. R. Burleson, T. L. Albrecht, & I. G. Sarason (Eds.), Communication of sodai support: Messages, interactions, relationships, and community (pp. 113–135). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Dakof, G. A., & Taylor, S. E. (1990) Victims’ perceptions of social support: What is helpful from whom? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 80–89.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Deal, J. E., Wampler, K. S., & Halverson, C. F. (1992) The importance of similarity in the marital relationship. Family Processes, 31, 369–382.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dunkel-Schetter, C., & Wortman, C. B. (1982). The interactional dynamics of cancer: Problems in social relationships and their impact on the patient. In H. S. Friedman & M. R. DiMatteo (Eds.), Interpersonal issues in health care (pp. 69–100). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Fiske, S. T, & Taylor, S. E. (1984). Social cognition. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  16. Grace, G. D., & Schill, T. (1986) Social support and coping style differences in subjects high and low in interpersonal trust. Psychological Reports, 59, 584–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heller, K., & Swindle, R. W. (1983). Social networks, perceived social support, and coping with stress. In R. D. Feiner, L. A. Jason, J. M. Moritsugu, & S. S. Farber (Eds.), Preventive psychology: Theory, research and practice (pp. 87–103). Elmsford, NY: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  18. Heller, K., Swindle, R. W., & Dusenbury, L. (1986) Component social support processes: Comments and integration. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 466–470.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hirsch, B. (1979) Psychological dimensions of social networks: A multimethod analysis. American Journal of Community Psychology, 7, 263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hobfoll, S. E., & Lerman, M. (1988) Personal relationships, personal attributes, and stress resistance: Mothers’ reactions to their child’s illness. American Journal of Community Psychology, 16, 565–589.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jacobson, D. (1990). Stress and support in stepfamily formation: The cultural context of social support. In B. R. Sarason, I. G. Sarason, & G. R. Pierce (Eds.), Social support: An interadional view (pp. 199–218). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  22. Lakey, B., & Cassady, P. B. (1990) Cognitive processes in perceived social support. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 337–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lakey, B., & Dickinson, L. G. (1994) Antecedents of perceived support: Is perceived family environment generalized to new social relationships? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 18, 39–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lakey, B., Moineau, S., & Drew, J. B. (1992) Perceived social support and individual differences in the interpretation and recall of supportive behavior. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 11, 336–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. Lerner, J. V, Baker, N., & Lerner, R. M. (1985). A person-centered goodness of fit model of adjustment. In P. C. Kendall (Ed.), Advances in cognitive-behavioral research and therapy, Vol. 4 (pp. 111–136). New York: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lerner, J. V, & Lerner, R. M. (1983). Temperament and adaptation across life: Theoretical and empirical issues. In P. B. Baltes & O. G. Brim Jr. (Eds.), Life-span development and behavior, Vol. 5 (pp. 197–231). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  28. Markus, H., & Zajonc, R. B. (1985). The cognitive perspective in social psychology. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.), Handbook of social psychology, Vol. 1 (pp. 137–230). New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  29. Martin, E. P., & Martin, J. M. (1978). The black extended family. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  30. Milgram, N. A. (1989). Social support versus self-efficiency in traumatic and post-traumatic stress reactions. In B. Lehrer & S. Gershon (Eds.), New directions in affective disorders (pp. 455–458). New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Milgram, N. A., & Palti, G. (1993) Psychosocial characteristics of resilient children. Journal of Research in Personality, 27, 207–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nadler, A., & Fisher, J. D. (1986). The role of threat to self-esteem and perceived control in recipient reaction to aid: Theory development and empirical validation. Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 19 (pp. 81–123). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  33. Peters-Golden, H. (1982) Breast cancer: Varied perceptions of social support in the illness experience. Social Science and Medicine, 16, 483–491.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pierce, G. R., Ptacek, J. T, Contey, C., & Pollack, K. (1996). Supportive behavior and support appraisals: An experimental study (submitted).Google Scholar
  35. Pierce, G. R., Sarason, B. R., & Sarason, I. G. (1990) Integrating social support perspectives: Working models, personal relationships and situational factors. In S. Duck & R. C. Silver (Eds.), Personal relationships and social support (pp. 173–189). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  36. Pierce, G. R., Sarason, B. R., & Sarason, I. G. (1992). General and specific support expectations and stress as predictors of perceived supportiveness: An experimental study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 297–307.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pierce, G. R., Sarason, I. G., & Sarason, B. R. (1991) General and relationship-based perceptions of social support: Are two constructs better than one? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 1028–1039.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pierce, G. R., Sarason, I. G., & Sarason, B. R. (1996). The role of social support in coping. In M. Zeidner & N. Endler (Eds.), Handbook of coping: Theory, research, and applications (pp. 434–451). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  39. Pierce, G. R., Sarason, I. G., Sarason, B. R., Solky, J. A., & Nagle, L. C. (1996). Assessing the quality of personal relationships: The Quality of Relationships Inventory (submitted).Google Scholar
  40. Rollins, B. C., & Thomas, D. L. (1979). Parental support, power, and control techniques in the socialization of children. In W. R. Burr, R. Hill, F. I. Nye, & I. L. Reiss (Eds.), Contemporary theories about the family, Vol. 1 (pp. 317–364). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  41. Sarason, B. R., Pierce, G. R., Bannerman, A., & Sarason, I. G. (1993) Investigating the antecedents of perceived social support: Parents’ views of and behavior toward their children. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1071–1085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sarason, B. R., Pierce, G. R., & Sarason, I. G. (1990). Social support: The sense of acceptance and the role of relationships. In B. R. Sarason, I. G. Sarason, & G. R. Pierce (Eds.), Social support: An interactional view (pp. 97–128). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  43. Sarason, B. R., Sarason, I. G., Hacker, T. A., & Basham, B. R. (1985) Concomitants of social support: Social skills, physical attractiveness, and gender. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 49, 469–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sarason, I. G., Sarason, B. R., & Shearin, E. N. (1986) Social support as an individual difference variable: Its instability, origins, and relational aspects. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 845–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Searcy, E., & Eisenberg, N. (1992) Defensiveness in response to aid from a sibling. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 422–433.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sroufe, L. A., & Fleeson, J. (1986). Attachment and the construction of relationships. In W. W. Hartup & Z. Rubin (Eds.), Relationships and development (pp. 51–71). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  47. Stokes, J. P., & Wilson, D. G. (1984) The Inventory of Socially Supportive Behaviors: Dimensionality, prediction, and gender differences. American Journal of Community Psychology, 12, 53–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Symonds, P. (1939). The psychology of parent-child relationships. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  49. Tessler, R. C., & Schwartz, S. H. (1972) Help seeking, self-esteem, and achievement motivation: An attributional analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 21, 318–326.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vaux, A., Riedel, S., & Stewart, D. (1987) Modes of social support: The Social Support Behaviors (SS-B) scale. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15, 209–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Weiss, R. S. (1974). The provisions of social relationships. In Z. Rubin (ed.), Doing unto others (pp. 17–26). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  52. Wortman, C. B., & Dunkel-Schetter, C. (1987). Conceptual and methodological issues in the study of social support. In A. Baum & J. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of psychology and health (pp. 63–108). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory R. Pierce
    • 1
  • Barbara R. Sarason
    • 2
  • Irwin G. Sarason
    • 2
  • Helene J. Joseph
    • 1
  • Ciarda A. Henderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHamilton CollegeClintonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations