Attachment, Social Competency, and the Capacity to Use Social Support

  • Helen M. Coble
  • Diana L. Gantt
  • Brent Mallinckrodt
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


Much of the pioneering research on the stress-buffering effects of social support tended to view support primarily in terms of its perceived availability in the environment. Individual differences were often included in these models, not as independent variables, but only as dependent variables representing psychological or physical health symptoms of distress. In many of these studies, the capacity to benefit from available social support was accepted as a given. After a decade of research in which this paradigm predominated, however, researchers in the mid-1980s increasingly began to view social support as an interaction between individual difference variables and the environment (e. g., B. R. Sarason, Pierce, & I. G. Sarason, 1990; I. G. Sarason, B. R. Sarason, & Shearin, 1986). On the basis of this growing body of research, it appears that at least three conditions are necessary for an individual to derive benefit from social support for coping with a given stressful life event: (1) the environment must offer support of the functional types and from relationship sources that match the coping requirements of the event; (2) the individual must possess social skills necessary to engage in supportive relationships, establish intimacy, and recruit the specific types of social support needed for coping with the Stressor; and (3) the individual must have the personality disposition and willingness to exercise these skills.


Social Support Social Competency Relationship Satisfaction Attachment Style Attachment Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen M. Coble
    • 1
  • Diana L. Gantt
    • 2
  • Brent Mallinckrodt
    • 1
  1. 1.Counseling Psychology Program, College of EducationUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Day Treatment ProgramProvidence Medical CenterPortlandUSA

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