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Age Moderates the Relationship between Social Support and Psychosocial Problems
Unformatted Document Text:  Age Moderates 7 psychology and its influence on human mate selection (Buss & Schmidt, 1993). Although admittedly counterintuitive, the negative psychological state of a young adult longing for a close friend relationship could be viewed as an adaptive process in the search for a suitable mate. The fact that social support from families may not be particularly helpful for such an individual at least temporarily orients his or her attention to the field of eligible mates, thus serving an adaptive value. Evolutionary psychology is less clear in terms of its predictions for social support that will be most effective for middle-aged and older adults. Presumably, social support, or at least contact with, family network members should be desirable to the elderly in that maintenance of these types of relationships should enhance the welfare of genetic offspring. For very different reasons socioemotional selectivity theory (Carstensen, 1993, 1995, 1998) also predicts that the desirability of social support from family and friends will change over the life span. According to this perspective, people pursue several classes of motives that vary in salience and importance over the life span. One basic motive is the desire to acquire information about the self and social world. According to socioemotional selectivity theory, this motive is future-oriented (i.e., the information will be of use in the future) and stimulates social contact as means of gathering information. Carstensen (1998) argued that this motive “starts high during the early years of life and declines gradually over the life course as knowledge accrues and the future for which it is banked grows shorter” (p. 345) . Another class of motives surrounds the need for emotional gratification. This includes the desire to establish intimacy, find meaning in life, and verify the self. Such socioemotional motives are hypothesized to rise in old age when gaining information for use in future activities is seen as less relevant. Socioemotional selectivity theory

Authors: Segrin, Chris.
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Age Moderates
7
psychology and its influence on human mate selection (Buss & Schmidt, 1993). Although
admittedly counterintuitive, the negative psychological state of a young adult longing for a
close friend relationship could be viewed as an adaptive process in the search for a suitable
mate. The fact that social support from families may not be particularly helpful for such an
individual at least temporarily orients his or her attention to the field of eligible mates, thus
serving an adaptive value. Evolutionary psychology is less clear in terms of its predictions
for social support that will be most effective for middle-aged and older adults. Presumably,
social support, or at least contact with, family network members should be desirable to the
elderly in that maintenance of these types of relationships should enhance the welfare of
genetic offspring.
For very different reasons socioemotional selectivity theory (Carstensen, 1993,
1995, 1998) also predicts that the desirability of social support from family and friends will
change over the life span. According to this perspective, people pursue several classes of
motives that vary in salience and importance over the life span. One basic motive is the
desire to acquire information about the self and social world. According to socioemotional
selectivity theory, this motive is future-oriented (i.e., the information will be of use in the
future) and stimulates social contact as means of gathering information. Carstensen (1998)
argued that this motive “starts high during the early years of life and declines gradually
over the life course as knowledge accrues and the future for which it is banked grows
shorter” (p. 345) . Another class of motives surrounds the need for emotional gratification.
This includes the desire to establish intimacy, find meaning in life, and verify the self.
Such socioemotional motives are hypothesized to rise in old age when gaining information
for use in future activities is seen as less relevant. Socioemotional selectivity theory


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