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Age Moderates the Relationship between Social Support and Psychosocial Problems
Unformatted Document Text:  Age Moderates 4 self-worth, and belonging that keeps psychological despair at a minimum (Cohen, Gottlieb, & Underwood, 2000). The Changing Role of Social Support over the Life Span On balance, social support is one of the most positive by products of involvement in close relationships. However, scientists are beginning to understand that the relationship between social support and psychosocial well-being is complex. The effectiveness of social support for contributing to recipients’ well-being is dependent upon on number of variables, two of which include the source of the social support and the age of the recipient. There is reason to suspect that young people and older people do not have uniform desires for social support from their networks. This hypothesis was summarized by Perlman (1988) who noted that “at least in the first third of life, the key interpersonal domain leading to loneliness appears to shift. It starts with family, moves first to friends and later to romantic attachments” (p. 215). In other words, sources of social support that may be effective at minimizing problems such as loneliness at one point in the life span may not be as appealing at a later point in the life span. This may stem in part from changing feelings about obligatory nature of family relations versus the optional nature of friendships (Antonucci & Akiyama, 1995). Studies of both young and older adults suggest that social support from family and friends may be differentially effective over the life span at maintaining a positive psychological state. For example, in young adults, friendships are negatively associated with loneliness (Medora & Woodward, 1986). Impoverished or problematic friendship interactions contribute to loneliness among adolescents and young adults (Medora & Woodward, 1986; Samter, 1992, 1994). However, social support from family members is

Authors: Segrin, Chris.
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Age Moderates
4
self-worth, and belonging that keeps psychological despair at a minimum (Cohen, Gottlieb,
& Underwood, 2000).
The Changing Role of Social Support over the Life Span
On balance, social support is one of the most positive by products of involvement in
close relationships. However, scientists are beginning to understand that the relationship
between social support and psychosocial well-being is complex. The effectiveness of
social support for contributing to recipients’ well-being is dependent upon on number of
variables, two of which include the source of the social support and the age of the recipient.
There is reason to suspect that young people and older people do not have uniform desires
for social support from their networks. This hypothesis was summarized by Perlman
(1988) who noted that “at least in the first third of life, the key interpersonal domain leading
to loneliness appears to shift. It starts with family, moves first to friends and later to
romantic attachments” (p. 215). In other words, sources of social support that may be
effective at minimizing problems such as loneliness at one point in the life span may not be
as appealing at a later point in the life span. This may stem in part from changing feelings
about obligatory nature of family relations versus the optional nature of friendships
(Antonucci & Akiyama, 1995).
Studies of both young and older adults suggest that social support from family and
friends may be differentially effective over the life span at maintaining a positive
psychological state. For example, in young adults, friendships are negatively associated
with loneliness (Medora & Woodward, 1986). Impoverished or problematic friendship
interactions contribute to loneliness among adolescents and young adults (Medora &
Woodward, 1986; Samter, 1992, 1994). However, social support from family members is


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