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Age Moderates the Relationship between Social Support and Psychosocial Problems
Unformatted Document Text:  Age Moderates 3 Age Moderates the Relationship between Social Support and Psychosocial Problems The beneficial effects of social support have been conclusively established over decades of scientific research. The availability of social support significantly enhances people’s general well-being and happiness in addition to their ability to withstand a variety of major stressors such as serious illness (Coyne & Smith, 1994). On the other hand, people who lack social support appear to be at risk for developing a range of physical and mental health problems. For instance, those who do not have satisfying personal relationships exhibit worse endocrine functioning than people who are content with their interpersonal relationships (e.g., Kiecolt-Glaser, 1999). The lack of a confidant has proven to be a major risk factor for the development of depression (Brown & Harris, 1978). In addition to depression, a lack of supportive relationships has been implicated in psychosocial problems such as loneliness, schizophrenia, and eating disorders (Grissett & Norvell, 1992; Hamid, 1989; Segrin, 2001). Social support is enacted through interpersonal communication and sometimes through instrumental behaviors. Its salutary effects appear to result from several social- psychological processes. According to the buffering model (Cohen & Willis, 1985) social support mitigates the ill effects of stress by reducing the appraised threat and reducing the stress response that typically follows physical or psychological threat. Supportive communication allows people to work through their emotional reactions to stressful events, and to develop relief-generating reappraisals that alleviate or minimize stress (Albrech, Burleson, &Goldsmith, 1994; Burleson & Goldsmith, 1998). The main effect model holds that involvement in caring relationships provides a generalized source of positive affect,

Authors: Segrin, Chris.
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Age Moderates
3
Age Moderates the Relationship between Social Support and Psychosocial Problems
The beneficial effects of social support have been conclusively established over
decades of scientific research. The availability of social support significantly enhances
people’s general well-being and happiness in addition to their ability to withstand a variety
of major stressors such as serious illness (Coyne & Smith, 1994). On the other hand,
people who lack social support appear to be at risk for developing a range of physical and
mental health problems. For instance, those who do not have satisfying personal
relationships exhibit worse endocrine functioning than people who are content with their
interpersonal relationships (e.g., Kiecolt-Glaser, 1999). The lack of a confidant has proven
to be a major risk factor for the development of depression (Brown & Harris, 1978). In
addition to depression, a lack of supportive relationships has been implicated in
psychosocial problems such as loneliness, schizophrenia, and eating disorders (Grissett &
Norvell, 1992; Hamid, 1989; Segrin, 2001).
Social support is enacted through interpersonal communication and sometimes
through instrumental behaviors. Its salutary effects appear to result from several social-
psychological processes. According to the buffering model (Cohen & Willis, 1985) social
support mitigates the ill effects of stress by reducing the appraised threat and reducing the
stress response that typically follows physical or psychological threat. Supportive
communication allows people to work through their emotional reactions to stressful events,
and to develop relief-generating reappraisals that alleviate or minimize stress (Albrech,
Burleson, &Goldsmith, 1994; Burleson & Goldsmith, 1998). The main effect model holds
that involvement in caring relationships provides a generalized source of positive affect,


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