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What Type of Support Do They Need? Investigating Student Adjustment as Related to Emotional, Informational, Appraisal, and Instrumental Support.

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The present study asked: What types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) do students perceive from the sources of support (parents, teachers, classmates, and close friends)? and Are types of social support more related to students' social, behavioral, and academic outcomes? Gender differences in perceptions of support were also investigated. Data were collected from 263 5th-8th graders using the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale, the Social Skills Rating System, and the Behavior Assessment System for Children. Although early adolescent boys and girls perceive similar levels of all types of support from their parents and teachers, girls perceive more support of most types from classmates and friends. Emotional and informational support were the most highly reported type of support from parents, informational support was most highly reported from teachers, and emotional and instrumental support scores were highest from classmates and close friends. Supportive behaviors from parents contributed to students' adjustment. Emotional support perceived from teachers was a significant and sole individual predictor of students' social skills and academic competence. Supportive behaviors from teachers also predicted students' school maladjustment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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What Type of Support Do They Need? Investigating
Student Adjustment as Related to Emotional,
Informational, Appraisal, and Instrumental Support
Christine Kerres Malecki and Michelle Kilpatrick Demaray
Northern Illinois University
Despite the availability of conceptual frameworks for examining types of social support,
the majority of studies in the literature measure global social support and do not examine
specific types of support. Thus, the present study asked: (a) What types of support (e.g.,
emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) do students most often perceive
from each of the sources of support (e.g., parents, teachers, classmates, and close friends)?
and (b) Are certain types of social support more related to students social, behavioral, and
academic outcomes? Preliminary analyses were also conducted to investigate the psycho-
metric properties of the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS; Malecki, De-
maray, & Elliott, 2000) and gender differences in perceptions of types of support. Partici-
pants included 263 students in Grades 5 through 8 and data were collected using the
CASSS, the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS; Gresham & Elliott, 1990), and the Behav-
ior Assessment System for Children (BASC; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1998). Results found
that although early adolescent boys and girls perceive similar levels of all types of support
from their parents and teachers, girls perceive more support of most types from classmates
and friends. Furthermore, emotional and informational support were the most highly re-
ported type of support from parents, informational support was most highly reported from
teachers, and emotional and instrumental support scores were reported highest from class-
mates and close friends. Supportive behaviors from parents contributed to students’ per-
sonal adjustment. Emotional support perceived from teachers was a significant and sole in-
dividual predictor of students’ social skills and academic competence. Finally, supportive
behaviors from teachers also predicted students’ school maladjustment.
Research in the area of social support has demonstrated that the support that chil-
dren and adolescents perceive plays an undeniable role in their outcomes
(Cauce, Felner, & Primavera, 1982; Demaray & Malecki, 2002a; Forman, 1988;
231
School Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 3, 2003, pp. 231–252
This article was reviewed and accepted for publication under the Editorship of Terry B. Gutkin.
Both authors contributed equally to this work.
Address correspondence to Christine K. Malecki, Northern Illinois University, Department of Psy-
chology, DeKalb, IL 60115; E-mail: cmalecki@niu.edu.
Piko, 2000; Wenz-Gross & Siperstein, 1998). Many of the conclusions reached
by these investigations were based on examining social support in a global way
by assessing overall social support from only one or two sources, and often did
not assess more than one specific type of social support. However, theoretical in-
vestigations of social support indicate that several aspects (e.g., multiple sources
and multiple types) must be taken into account when examining this important
construct (Winemiller, Mitchell, Sutcliff, & Cline, 1993).
One conceptualization of social support that incorporates these many aspects
is Tardy’s (1985) model. Tardy addresses five dimensions in the conceptualiza-
tion of social support: direction, disposition, description/evaluation, network,
and content. In this model, direction refers to whether one is giving or receiving
social support. Disposition refers to whether social support is simply available to
someone or if it is actually being used. Description/evaluation refers to whether
one is evaluating his or her social support or just describing it. Tardy’s network
refers to the source(s) or member(s) of an individual’s support network, such as
parents or family, teachers, classmates, friends, and others. Finally, Tardy’s
model includes the content of social support that refers to what type of social
support was provided. Social support type refers to the categorization of specific
supportive behaviors into broad categories such as tangible or instrumental sup-
port and emotional or esteem-enhancing support. Tardys (1985) model uses the
categories developed by House (1981), which are emotional, informational, ap-
praisal, and instrumental types of support.
Influenced by Tardy’s (1985) model, we view social support as an individ-
uals perceptions of general support or specific supportive behaviors (available
or acted on) from people in their social network, which enhances their function-
ing or may buffer them from adverse outcomes (Malecki & Demaray, 2002).
The sources of support (social network) measured in the current study include
parents, teachers, classmates, and close friends. This examination of multiple
sources of support is key because of previous research that found that students’
adjustment may be differentially related to the social support they receive from
various sources. For example, Demaray and Malecki (2002b) have found that
parent and classmate support are related to students clinical and personal adjust-
ment; whereas teacher, classmate, and school support are more related to school-
related adjustment outcomes. In addition to examining social support sources in
the current study, we investigated students’ perceptions of the frequency of so-
cial support in their lives and their evaluation of that support in the form of im-
portance ratings. Finally, we examined emotional, instrumental, informational,
and appraisal social support types. In sum, in the current study we focused on in-
vestigating several sources and types of support, in addition to the frequency and
importance of support, as perceived by early adolescents.
The current study used the social support type categorization developed by
House (1981). Specifically, emotional support consists of feelings of trust and
love. Instrumental support includes resources such as spending time with some-
one or providing him or her with materials or money. Informational support is
232 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
providing someone with information or advice. Appraisal support is providing
evaluative feedback to others. Although there is a lack of consistency in the ter-
minology used for social support type, most of the labels that are used can fit
into a common framework. Table 1 illustrates several examples of how other
common terms used in the literature can be mapped under House’s (1981) four
broad categories of supportive behaviors.
Despite the availability of these conceptual frameworks for examining type of
support, many studies in the social support literature (both adult and child and
adolescent) measure social support in a global way and do not examine specific
types of support. Studies are either not equipped with methodology that taps
varying types of support, or investigations use only a summary score of social
support that incorporates the multiple types of support represented by the items.
An illustration of this is found in a literature review conducted by Winemiller et
al. (1993), which investigated the conceptualization and assessment methodol-
ogy being used to measure social support in the adult literature. He and his coau-
thors used Cohen and Wills’ (1985) guidelines and categorized the type of sup-
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 233
TABLE 1. Type of Support Categories Used in the Literature Categorized Under
House (1981)
a
Framework
Reference Emotional Informational Appraisal Instrumental
Mitchell & Emotional Access to new Communications of Task-oriented
Trickett and diverse expectations,
(1980)
a
information evaluations, and
shared world view
Barrera & Intimate interaction Guidance Feedback Material aid
Ainlay Positive social Behavioral
(1983)
a
interaction assistance
Cohen & Wills Social Informational Esteem Instrumental
(1985)
a
companionship
Esteem
Vaux, Burda, Emotional Guidance and Tangible
& Stewart Socializing advice assistance
(1986)
b
Financial
assistance
Furman & Reliable alliance Enhancement of Instrumental
Buhrmester Companionship worth help
(1985)
b
Affection
Intimacy
Richman, Listening support Emotional challenge Task challenge
Rosenfeld, Emotional support Technical appreciation Tangible support
& Bowen Reality confirmation Technical challenge Personal
(1998)
b
assistance
Note.
a
Study/theory based on adult sample.
b
Study/theory based on child or adolescent sample.
port assessed by 262 empirical studies of social support in adults between 1980
and 1987 and found that 68.3% of these articles assessed support globally,
37.8% assessed esteem support, 37% assessed social companionship, 28.2% as-
sessed instrumental support, and 20.2% assessed informational support. Thus,
the majority of the empirical studies examined participants’ overall or global
support.
The use of only global measures as an indicator of support is potentially prob-
lematic because of research studies in the adult literature that have documented
that (a) specific types of support are associated most often with certain sources
of support; and (b) differential effects on participants’ outcomes can depend on
the type of support they received (Barrera & Ainlay, 1983; Davis, Morris, &
Kraus, 1998; Ma, 1996; Shumaker & Brownell, 1984; Tardy, 1992). Although
not as well documented in the child and adolescent literature, several studies
have found patterns indicating that certain sources (e.g., parents, friends) provide
different types of support for children and adolescents. For example, Richman,
Rosenfeld, and Bowen (1998) found that middle-school students indicate (a)
friends as their primary source of listening support; (b) parents and friends as
their primary sources of technical appreciation support (appraisal support); and
(c) neighbors as their primary source of tangible assistance. They also found that
high-school students obtain (a) listening support from parents; (b) technical ap-
preciation support from friends, parents, and teachers; and (c) tangible support
from parents and friends (Richman et al., 1998). Similarly, Dubow and Ullman
(1989) found that children reported that their mothers were a top provider of all
types of support (e.g., emotional, tangible, and informational) and their fathers
and friends followed mothers in frequency ratings in providing emotional, tangi-
ble, and information support. The researchers found that (a) siblings provided
emotional support; (b) grandparents provided tangible support; and (c) teachers
provided informational support (Dubow & Ullman, 1989). Finally, Furman and
Buhrmester (1985) found that mothers and fathers provided affection, reliable
alliance, enhancement of worth, and instrumental aid. Mothers provided more
companionship for children than did fathers. Taking into account support from
parents, grandparents were secondary providers of affection, enhancement, and
importance. The children’s friends and their mothers provided intimacy (Furman
& Buhrmester, 1985).
Along with describing what types of support are primarily provided by what
sources of support, the literature documents that specific subtypes of support are
more closely related to some outcomes than to others. For example, Richman et
al. (1998) found that for middle-school students, (a) listening support from peers
was associated with grades; (b) technical challenge support from parents was as-
sociated with attendance; and (c) emotional support, emotional challenge sup-
port, and reality confirmation support from parents (and in some cases peers and
teachers) were associated with school satisfaction. Additionally, in a study of
Chinese adolescents, Cheng (1998) found that for adolescent boys, a lack of in-
strumental support was related to depression. Regarding adolescent girls, a lack
234 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
of socioemotional support was related to depression (Cheng, 1998). Thus, Cheng
found that there may be significant gender differences in the relationship be-
tween type of support and outcomes. These studies, although few, suggest that
researchers examining social support in children and adolescents should look at
the type and source of support and those relationships with outcomes. Research
examining only overall social support, although informative and important, may
be missing interesting and clinically important information that breaking down
social support source and type may provide. Thus, an additional goal of the pres-
ent study was to investigate the psychometric properties on a new version of the
Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS; Malecki et al., 2000), espe-
cially with regard to perceptions of type of support.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The primary research questions addressed were: (a) What types of support (e.g.,
emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) do students most often
perceive from each of the sources of support (e.g., parents, teachers, classmates,
and close friends)? and (b) Are certain types of social support (from specific
sources) more related to students’ social, behavioral, and academic indicators?
In addition, preliminary analyses were conducted to investigate the psychomet-
ric properties of the CASSS and gender differences in perceptions of types of
support.
This study extends previous work in several ways. First, the study involved a
large and diverse sample of students from Grades 5 to 8. Second, perceived so-
cial support from four sources important to adolescents was measured (e.g., par-
ents, teachers, classmates, and close friends). Third, the types of social support
assessed in this study (e.g., emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumen-
tal) are broadly defined into categories that incorporate previous research and are
based on theory. Fourth, the frequency of social support was assessed in addition
to the importance students place on social support. Fifth, unique outcome vari-
ables were examined including behavioral and emotional symptoms, social
skills, problem behavior, and academic competence. Finally, data for the de-
pendent variables were collected via adolescent self-report and teacher-report,
which provided two different sources of information.
METHOD
Participants
This study used data from a total of 263 students in Grades 5 through 8 from four
schools. The participants were from (a) a public, urban school in Illinois (
n
=
167); (b) a private, rural school in Illinois (
n
= 35); (c) a public, rural school in
Illinois (
n
= 21); and (d) a public, suburban school in New York (
n
= 40). The
urban school in Illinois was a school with a majority of students at risk. A total
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 235
of 125 (47.5%) participants were male and 138 (52.5%) participants were fe-
male. The distribution of students across grades was 19 from Grade 5 (7.2%),
104 from Grade 6 (39.5%), 97 from Grade 7 (36.9%), and 43 from Grade 8
(16.3%). With respect to race or ethnicity, 113 (43%) of the participants were
Hispanic, 31 (11.8%) were African American, 102 (38.8%) were Caucasian, 5
(1.9%) were Asian, 3 (1.1%) were Native American, and 9 (3.4%) listed their
ethnicity as Other.
A total of 49 teachers participated in the study. The respective teachers of stu-
dents with parental consent to participate were asked to complete the Social
Skills Rating System–Teacher version (SSRS-T, Gresham & Elliot, 1990) on
their students. Teachers completed the SSRS-T on a range of one to 20 students.
The mean number of students that teachers rated was 4.40.
Materials
The instruments used to collect data were the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000), the
Social Skills Rating System (SSRS; Gresham & Elliott, 1990), and the Behavior
Assessment System for Children (BASC; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1998).
CASSS.
The CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000) is a 60-item rating scale measuring
students’ (Grades 3 to 12) perceived social support. It measures four types of
perceived support (e.g., emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental)
from five different sources (e.g., parents, teachers, classmates, close friends, and
school). The school subscale is in development and data are not yet available to
determine how scores on this subscale function. Therefore, the school subscale
was not used in the present study. Each of the five subscales corresponds to one
the sources of support (e.g., Parent, Teacher) and consists of 12 items. Each
source subscale has three items corresponding to each of the types of support
(e.g., emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental). Students read each
statement describing a specific supportive behavior and respond by rating how
often they receive that support from that source (frequency ratings) and how im-
portant that support is to them (importance ratings). Frequency ratings consist of
a 6-point Likert scale, with scores ranging from 1 (
never
) to 6 (
always
). Impor-
tance ratings consist of a 3-point Likert scale, with scores ranging from 1 (
not
important
) to 3 (
very important
).
Items on the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000) were written specifically to reflect
the four previously mentioned types of support (e.g., emotional, informational,
appraisal, and instrumental). “My parents understand me” is an example of an
emotional support item. “My classmates give me ideas when I don’t know what
to do” is an example of an informational support item. “My close friend nicely
tells me the truth about how I do on things” is an appraisal support item. Lastly,
“My teacher spends time with me when I need help” is an example of an instru-
mental support item.
Subscale frequency and importance scores on the CASSS are calculated by
summing the frequency ratings on the 12 items on each subscale (e.g., Parent,
236 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
Teacher, Classmate, Close Friend, and School). In addition, a Total Frequency
and Total Importance score can be calculated by summing all five frequency or
Importance subscale scores. To investigate and conduct analyses on the different
types of support that students receive, items reflecting each type of support (e.g.,
emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) were summed together
within each source (for frequency and importance). Thus, the three items in each
subscale corresponding to each respective type of support were summed to pro-
vide a score for emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental support for
each of the five sources. Although the importance ratings on the CASSS are in-
tended primarily for use in clinical interpretation, the importance scores for the
types of support were summed and analyzed for the present investigation. The
only scores analyzed in the present study were both frequency and importance
type scores (e.g., emotional, informational, instrumental, and appraisal) for four
of the sources (e.g., parent, teacher, classmate, and close friend).
The version of the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000) used in the current study is a
revision of a previous version by Malecki, Demaray, Elliott, and Nolten (1999).
The changes were threefold: (a) the measure changed from two forms (a child
and an adolescent form) to one form (appropriate for Grades 3 through 12); (b)
new items were added, revised, or redistributed to create an equal number of
items pertaining to four types of support (e.g., emotional, appraisal, informa-
tional, and instrumental); and (c) the school subscale was added to the new
CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000). Before these revisions, the CASSS (Malecki et
al., 1999) had evidence of reliability and validity from data on over 1,000 stu-
dents (Malecki & Demaray, 2002). An investigation of the psychometric proper-
ties on the new version of the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000) is presented as part
of the current study (see “Preliminary Analyses” in the Results section).
SSRS.
The SSRS (Gresham & Elliott, 1990) is a norm-referenced, multirater
rating scale intended to assess social behavior problems. There are three versions:
parent, teacher, and student. The current study used the teacher version of the rat-
ing scale (SSRS-T). There is a different form for elementary (Grades K to 6) and
secondary (Grades 7 to 12) students. Thus, both the elementary and secondary
versions of the SSRS-T were used in the current study. The SSRS-T assesses stu-
dents’ social skills, problem behaviors, and academic competence. On the Social
Skills and Problem Behavior scales, teachers rate the frequency of each item on a
3-point Likert scale. On the Academic Competence Scale, teachers rate academic
skills on a 5-point Likert scale based on percentage clusters. In addition, the So-
cial Skills Scale includes a 3-point Likert scale of the importance of each item;
however, these scores were not used in the present study.
The SSRS was standardized on 4,170 students. Internal consistency on the
SSRS-T is strong, ranging from .93 to .94 on the Social Skills Scale, .82 to .88
on the Problem Behavior Scale, and .95 on the Academic Competence Scale.
Test–retest (4-week) reliability was .85, .84, and .93 for the Social Skills, Prob-
lem Behavior, and Academic Competence Scales, respectively. Lastly, data on
interrater ratings on the SSRS-T supports the reliability of the SSRS. Interrater
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 237
reliability on the Social Skills Scale was .32 for teacher and student and .31 for
parent and teacher. As described in Meyer et al. (2001), these moderate correla-
tions suggest that teachers, students, and parents may have differing perspectives
on students’ social skills. This illustrates the need for multiple sources of data
when feasible to gather multisource information. In general, however, Meyer et
al. (2001) present 22 examples of cross-method associations, and the SSRS data
are well in line with the correlations Meyer et al. presented (
r
’s = .03 to .42). Ev-
idence of validity stems from (a) correlations ranging from .55 to .68 with the
Social Behavior Assessment (SBA; Stephens, 1981), (b) correlations ranging
from .59 to .81 with the Child Behavior Checklist–Teacher Report Form
(CBCL-TRF; Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1987), and (c) correlations ranging from
.63 to .70 with the Harter Teacher Rating Scale (Harter, 1985b). See the SSRS
manual for more specific details (Gresham & Elliott, 1990).
BASC.
The BASC is a multidimensional, norm-referenced rating scale to as-
sess the behaviors of children and adolescents from the perspective of teachers,
parents, and students. The student version, the BASC Self-Report of Personality
(SRP) was used in the current study. The SRP was designed to assess the “per-
sonality and self-perceptions of children” (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1998, p. 55).
The SRP consists of two levels, both of which were used in the present study.
There is a child version, for ages 8 to 11 years, and also an adolescent version,
for ages 12 to 18 years. The two levels are virtually the same with only a few ex-
ceptions. On the SPR, students respond to each item by rating the statement as
true or false. Both levels are comprised of Clinical Scales and Adaptive Scales.
The SRP composites are: (a) Clinical Maladjustment (broad index of internaliz-
ing problems), (b) School Maladjustment (broad measure of adaptation to
school), (c) Personal Adjustment (measure of positive levels of adjustment), and
(d) Emotional Symptoms Index (global indicator of serious emotional distur-
bance).
The SRP was normed on a large sample of 9,861 students. Reliability evi-
dence for the SRP is strong with internal consistencies on the composite scales
that ranged from .87 to .95 for the child version and from .88 to .99 for the ado-
lescent version. Internal consistency on the subscales ranged from .71 to .88 for
the child version and from .58 to .89 for the adolescent version. Additional relia-
bility evidence was based on test–retest reliability (0 to 1 month) scores, with a
median correlation of .76 for both the child and adolescent versions for the
scales. Test–retest correlations for the composite scales ranged from .78 to .84
for the child version and from .81 to .86 for the adolescent version. Validity evi-
dence was provided by the factor structure of the scales and correlations with
other measures. For example, on the adolescent version of the SRP, the correla-
tion between the SRP Emotional Symptoms Index and the Youth Self-Report
(YSR; Achenbach, 1985) Total Problems Score was .66 for females and .52 for
males. The correlation between the SRP Personal Adjustment and the YSR Total
Competence was .30 for females and .46 for males. Lastly, the correlation be-
tween the SRP Clinical Maladjustment Score and the YSR Internalizing Score
238 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
was .84 for females and .74 for males. For more detailed information on the psy-
chometric qualities of the BASC, see the BASC manual (Reynolds & Kam-
phaus, 1998).
Procedure
Parental consent was collected for all students participating in the study. At all
schools consent letters were sent home to students in the relevant grades. Based
on the number of consents sent home at each of the schools, the overall positive
return rate was 30%. In addition, written student assent to participate was col-
lected for all participants. Participants completed the rating scales in groups
ranging from a few students to larger groups of approximately 15 students. A re-
search assistant was always available at data collections and all rating scales
were read aloud. The teachers of students who obtained parental consent to par-
ticipate in the study were contacted and asked to complete the SSRS-T. This
form was left with the teachers to complete on their own time.
Research Questions and Predictions
Preliminary analyses.
Before investigating the primary research questions
posed by the present study, preliminary analyses were conducted to investigate
the psychometric properties of the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000) and to investi-
gate potential gender differences in social support type scores (e.g., emotional,
informational, appraisal, and instrumental support) from each of the four
sources.
A factor analysis was conducted to investigate the factor structure of students’
scores on the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000). In addition, reliability analyses were
conducted using Cronbach’s to investigate internal consistency reliability on
the subscale scores and on the type scores. In addition, test–retest data were col-
lected on a subsample of students that took the CASSS a second time after 8
weeks had passed. Convergent validity was investigated via correlations among
the CASSS scores with scores on the Social Support Scale for Children (Harter,
1985a) and the Social Support Appraisals Scale (SSAS; Dubow & Ullman,
1989). Finally, special attention was given to the type scores being used in the
current study by investigating internal consistency and test–retest reliability on
the type subscale scores.
To investigate potential gender differences in the type scores for each source,
a series of multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVAs) was conducted. It was
predicted that significant differences would be found between boys’ and girls’
type scores from teachers, classmates, and close friends, but not parents. Previ-
ous research has found that support from parents is perceived at similar levels for
boys and girls, but girls perceive significantly more support from other sources
in their lives (Demaray & Malecki, 2002a; Frey & Rothlisberger, 1996; Jackson
& Warren, 2000). Little previous research has examined gender differences in
specific types of support; thus, no specific predictions were made regarding the
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 239
follow-up univariate analyses to determine which types of support from each
source were significantly different for boys versus girls.
Research question 1.
To answer the first research question about what types
of support (e.g., emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) students
most often perceive from each of the sources of support (e.g., parents, teachers,
classmates, and close friends), a series of repeated-measures analyses of vari-
ance (ANOVAs) was conducted to compare the support type scores within each
source. Frequency scores for each type within each source of support were ex-
amined in one series of ANOVAs. Next, the same series of analyses was con-
ducted with importance scores for each type within each source. Follow-up
Fisher’s Least Significant Difference (LSD) comparisons on significant
ANOVAs were conducted to determine where the differences occurred. Based
on the available literature, it was predicted that within parent, classmate, and
close friend sources, emotional support scores would be significantly higher than
the other types of support (Dubow & Ullman, 1989; Furman & Buhrmester,
1985). In addition, it was predicted that informational support would emerge as
most prevalent from teachers (Dubow & Ullman, 1989). These predictions were
expected for both frequency and importance type scores.
Research question 2.
To investigate whether certain types of social support
(from specific sources) are more related to students’ outcomes, a series of simul-
taneous regression analyses was conducted using seven scores (e.g., SSRS-T So-
cial Skills, SSRS-T Problem Behaviors, SSRS-T Academic Competence, BASC
SRP Clinical Maladjustment, BASC SRP Emotional Symptoms Index, BASC
SRP Personal Adjustment, and the BASC SRP School Maladjustment) as out-
come variables and the four types of support (e.g., emotional, informational, ap-
praisal, and instrumental) within the relevant source (e.g., Parent, Teacher,
Classmate, or Close Friend) as predictors.
Because only two identified studies (Cheng, 1998; Richman et al., 1998) have
examined the relationships between type of support and various indicators of ad-
justment, predictions were made with caution. However, it was predicted that
emotional and appraisal support from parents would be related to all indicator
variables (Cheng, 1998; Richman et al., 1998), and that emotional and appraisal
support from teachers would be related to school-related adjustment scores (e.g.,
SSRS-T Social Skills, SSRS-T Problem Behaviors, SSRS-T Academic Compe-
tence, and BASC SRP School Maladjustment). No specific predictions were
made regarding various types of support from classmates and close friends be-
cause of a lack of supporting literature.
RESULTS
Preliminary Analyses
CASSS psychometric properties.
Means and standard deviations on all the
total scores from the CASSS, SSRS-T, and BASC are presented in Table 2. Data
240 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
on the current study sample with the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000) indicate evi-
dence of similar psychometric qualities as the previous version of the CASSS
(Malecki et al., 1999). The School Support subscale was not included in the fol-
lowing analyses as it was not used in the current study. The principal compo-
nents (oblique rotation) factor-analytic results indicated a clear four-factor struc-
ture corresponding to the Parent, Teacher, Classmate, and Close Friend
subscales. Factor loadings ranged from .57 to .86 within each factor with no
dual-loading items. The eigenvalues for the four factors ranged from 16.81 to
2.92. Reliability analyses on the current sample revealed evidence that scores on
the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000) demonstrate strong internal consistency,
r
=
.96, for the Total frequency score (for the current study, the CASSS Total score
includes only the Parent, Teacher, Classmate, and Close Friend items) and inter-
nal consistency on the frequency subscales, rs = .92 to .95. Alpha coefficients on
the importance Total score were .96 and the importance subscales had internal
consistency score
rs
= .88 to .93. In addition, a subsample of participants from
the current study,
n
= 113, was given the CASSS approximately 8 to 10 weeks
later to assess testretest reliability, which was .75 for the frequency Total Score
and ranged from .58 to .74 on the frequency subscales. On the importance sub-
scale scores, test–retest coefficients ranged from .45 to .65.
Regarding validity evidence, a subsample of participants from the current
sample,
n
= 126, was administered the SSSC (Harter, 1985a). The CASSS Total
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 241
TABLE 2. Means and Standard Deviations of on CASSS, SSRS-T, and BASC Total
Scores
Measure Score N M SD
CASSS Frequency Parent 263 54.37 12.33
Teacher 262 51.79 13.24
Classmate 263 45.86 14.49
Close Friend 263 53.62 15.27
Total 263 205.52 42.34
CASSS Importance Parent 256 28.82 5.13
Teacher 256 28.27 5.69
Classmate 258 26.80 5.78
Close Friend 254 28.55 6.27
Total 254 112.01 19.07
SSRS-T Social Skills 210 104.29 17.50
Problem Behaviors 214 98.45 13.17
Academic Competence 206 96.34 11.97
BASC Clinical Maladjustment 113 49.31 9.81
Emotional Symptoms 114 49.35 9.64
Personal Adjustment 115 48.58 10.34
School Maladjustment 115 54.81 10.90
Note.
CASSS = Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale; SSRS-T = Social Skills Rating System–Teacher ver-
sion; BASC = Behavior Assessment System for Children.
Frequency Score was significantly correlated,
r
= .55,
p
< .001, with the SSSC
Total score. The parent frequency scores were significantly correlated,
r
= .56,
p
< .001, as were the teacher frequency scores,
r
= .48,
p
< .001, the classmate fre-
quency scores,
r
= .36,
p
< .001, and the friend frequency scores,
r
= .59,
p
<
.001. Finally, a subsample of students,
n
= 130, was administered the Social Sup-
port Appraisals Scale (SSAS; Dubow & Ullman, 1989) to assess further conver-
gent validity. The total frequency scores correlated at .56 (
p
< .001). The SSAS
Family Scale correlated with the CASSS Parent Frequency Subscale .58 (
p
<
.001), the SSAS Teacher Scale correlated with the CASSS Teacher Frequency
Subscale .55 (
p
< .001), and the SSAS Peer Scale correlated with the CASSS
Classmate and Close Friend Frequency Subscales, .41 and .54, respectively (
p
s <
.001).
Additional analyses were conducted on the type scores used in the current
study to investigate their reliability. Internal consistency for the frequency type
scores (e.g., emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) ranged from
.73 to .82, .81 to .82, .80 to .87, and .83 to .88 for the Parent, Teacher, Classmate,
and Close Friend subscales, respectively. Internal consistency for the importance
type scores ranged from .64 to .72, .71 to .78, .73 to .77, and .75 to .81 for the
Parent, Teacher, Classmate, and Close Friend subscales, respectively. In addi-
tion, on a subsample of participants from the current study,
n
= 49, that was
given the CASSS 8 to 10 weeks later, test–retest reliability scores were calcu-
lated on all frequency and importance type scores. On the frequency scores,
testretest correlations (all significant at .01) ranged from .61 to .78, .46 to .75,
.51 to .67, and .73 to .83 on the Parent, Teacher, Classmate, and Close Friend
subscales, respectively. For the importance scores, test–retest correlations (all
significant at .01) ranged from .42 to .53, .50 to .65, .40 to .62, and .61 to .74 on
the Parent, Teacher, Classmate, and Close Friend subscales, respectively.
In addition, interrater reliability was calculated for the CASSS type items. For
each subscale on the CASSS (e.g., Parent, Teacher, Classmate, and Close
Friend), the items were presented in random order and five graduate students
were asked to categorize each item as one of the four types of support (e.g., emo-
tional, informational, instrumental, and appraisal). The students were provided
with a one-sentence description of each of the respective types of support and
then asked to make their ratings. Results indicated that 92% of the items on the
CASSS were categorized correctly (as intended by the authors). When separated
into type of support, students categorized 87% of the emotional items, 99% of
the informational items, 100% of the appraisal items, and 83% of the instrumen-
tal items correctly. Thus, these data provide some evidence that items on the
CASSS reflect the various types of support that were intended.
Gender differences.
To investigate gender differences in the types of support
perceived for each source, separate MANOVAs were conducted on the four
types of support (e.g., emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental)
within each source of support (e.g., parent, teacher, classmate, and close friend)
between genders. The descriptive data used in these analyses are presented in
242 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
Table 3. To correct for inflated familywise error, a Bonferonni correction was
applied (.05 divided by 4) for the MANOVAs to obtain a significance criterion
of
p
< 01. A significance criterion of
p
< .01 was also obtained for the follow-up
ANOVAs (.05 divided by 4).
As predicted, on the Parent subscale the MANOVA was not significant,
Wilks’ = .992,
F
(4, 258) = .51,
p
= .73, indicating no gender differences in
students’ perceptions of types of parent support. Although significant differ-
ences were predicted for teacher support, none were found using the
p
< .01 sig-
nificance criterion, Wilks’ = .961,
F
(4, 257) = 2.62,
p
< .05. As predicted, the
MANOVAs for the remaining two sources of support (Classmate and Close
Friend) were significant with the following results. The MANOVA on the Class-
mate subscale was significant, Wilks’ = .937,
F
(4, 258) = 4.37,
p
< .01. Re-
sults of the univariate ANOVAs indicated that girls report more (a) classmate
emotional support,
F
(1, 261) = 7.46,
p
< .01; (b) classmate informational sup-
port,
F
(1, 261) = 16.53,
p
< .001; and (c) classmate appraisal support,
F
(1, 261)
= 10.66,
p
< .01. Boys and girls did not differ on classmate instrumental support,
F
(1, 261) = 6.06,
p
< .05. A similar pattern was found on the Close Friend sub-
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 243
TABLE 3. Means and Standard Deviations on CASSS Scores by Gender
Boys Girls
Source and Type
________________________ _______________________
of Support Significant M SD N M SD N
Parent NS
Emotional NA 13.82 3.49 125 13.86 3.30 138
Informational NA 13.86 3.51 125 13.94 3.23 138
Appraisal NA 13.20 3.61 125 13.61 3.40 138
Instrumental NA 13.01 3.84 125 13.39 3.50 138
Teacher NS
Emotional NA 12.09 3.95 125 13.46 3.39 138
Informational NA 13.25 3.77 125 14.14 3.28 137
Appraisal NA 12.22 3.90 125 13.47 3.34 137
Instrumental NA 11.95 4.02 125 12.81 3.59 137
Classmate p < .01
Emotional p < .01 11.49 3.92 125 12.72 3.40 138
Informational p < .001 10.46 4.24 125 12.52 3.98 138
Appraisal p < .01 9.34 4.42 125 11.03 3.97 138
Instrumental NS 11.29 4.34 125 12.57 4.13 138
Friend p < .001
Emotional p < .001 11.64 4.56 125 15.29 3.25 138
Informational p < .001 11.61 4.51 125 14.84 2.91 138
Appraisal p < .001 11.36 4.48 125 14.30 3.46 138
Instrumental p < .001 12.25 4.20 125 15.32 2.88 138
Note.
CASSS = Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale; NS = not significant; NA = not applicable because
analysis was not conducted. To correct for inflated familywise error, a Bonferonni correction was applied (.05 di-
vided by 4) for the MANOVAs to obtain a significance criterion of
p
< .01. A significance criterion of
p
< .01 was
also obtained for the follow-up ANOVAs (.05 divided by 4).
scale with Wilks’ = .801,
F
(4, 258) = 15.98,
p
< .001 and all of the follow-up
univariate ANOVAs significant,
F
s (1, 261) = 56.65, 48.52, 35.77, 48.55,
p
s <
.001, for close friend emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental sup-
port, respectively.
Although these analyses found that girls perceive higher levels of most types
of support than boys, an examination of the mean scores revealed that boys and
girls have similar relative type scores. If classmate emotional support is the high-
est mean score for girls, then classmate emotional support is also the highest
mean score for boys. Thus, for the remaining analyses, the sample was analyzed
together, rather than conducting separate analyses for boys and girls.
Research Question 1: Investigating Differences in Type of Support within
Each Source of Support
To gain a better understanding of the frequency with which students perceived
the different types of support (e.g., emotional, informational, appraisal, instru-
mental) within each source, two series of repeated-measures ANOVAs were
conducted. The Bonferonni correction was used on the ANOVAs (.05 divided by
4) and a
p
< .01 was obtained for significance. Follow-up Fisher’s LSD compar-
isons on significant ANOVAs were conducted to determine where the differ-
ences occurred. A Bonferonni correction procedure was also used for the follow-
up comparisons (.05 divided by 4 =
p
< .01). First, type frequency scores within
each source were examined followed by an examination of type importance
scores within each source. All descriptive data used in these analyses are pre-
sented in Table 4. In addition, Table 4 provides a summary of the post hoc com-
parisons.
Differences in frequency type scores within source.
Examining the four
type scores within the Parent subscale, the ANOVA was significant, Wilks’ =
.926,
F
(3, 260) = 6.89,
p
< .001, indicating significant differences among stu-
dents’ perceptions of types of parent support. Follow-up comparisons found that
parent emotional support and parent informational support were both signifi-
cantly higher than parent appraisal support,
p
s < .01, and parent instrumental
support,
p
s < .001.
Examining the four type scores, within the Teacher subscale, the ANOVA
was significant, Wilks’ = .758,
F
(3, 259) = 27.54,
p
< .001, indicating signifi-
cant differences among students’ perceptions of types of teacher support. Fol-
low-up comparisons found (a) teacher informational support significantly higher
than teacher emotional,
p
< .001, appraisal,
p
< .001, and instrumental support,
p
< .001, and (b) teacher appraisal support significantly higher than instrumental
support,
p
< .01.
Significant differences were found among the four type scores within the
Classmate subscale, Wilks’ = .723,
F
(3, 260) = 33.24,
p
< .001, with (a) post
hoc comparisons finding classmate emotional support significantly higher than
informational support,
p
< .01, and appraisal support,
p
< .001; (b) classmate in-
244 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
formational support higher than appraisal support,
p
< .001; and (c) classmate in-
strumental support higher than appraisal support,
p
< .001.
Significant differences were found among the four type scores within the
Close Friend subscale, Wilks’ = .831,
F
(3, 260) = 17.65,
p
< .001, with post
hoc comparisons finding close friend emotional support significantly higher than
appraisal support
p
< .001, and close friend instrumental support higher than in-
formational support
p
< .001 and appraisal support
p
< .001.
Differences in importance type scores within source.
Examining the impor-
tance scores on the four types within the Parent subscale, the ANOVA was sig-
nificant, Wilks’ = .853, F (3, 253) = 14.55,
p
< .001, indicating significant dif-
ferences among students’ perceptions of the importance they place on various
types of parent support. Follow-up comparisons found parent emotional support
significantly higher than parent informational,
p
< .001, appraisal,
p
< .001, and
instrumental support,
p
< .001.
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 245
TABLE 4. Means and Standard Deviations on CASSS Type Frequency and
Importance Scores
Frequency Scores Importance Scores
Source and Type
____________________________ __________________________
of Support M SD N M SD N
Parent
Emotional 13.84 3.39 263 7.51 1.39 256
Informational 13.90 3.36 263 7.15 1.55 256
Appraisal 13.42 3.50 263 7.04 1.56 256
Instrumental 13.21 3.66 263 7.11 1.50 256
E > A & INS; INF > A & INS E > INF, A, & INS
Teacher
Emotional 12.81 3.72 263 6.93 1.68 256
Informational 13.72 3.54 262 7.38 1.61 256
Appraisal 12.88 3.67 262 6.92 1.63 256
Instrumental 12.40 3.82 262 7.04 1.61 256
INF >E, A, & INS; A > INS INF > E, A, & INS
Classmate
Emotional 12.13 3.70 263 6.80 1.61 258
Informational 11.54 4.22 263 6.77 1.61 258
Appraisal 10.22 4.27 263 6.38 1.83 258
Instrumental 11.69 4.27 263 6.85 1.73 258
E > INF & A; INF > A; INS > A E , INF, & INS > A
Close Friend
Emotional 13.55 4.33 263 7.44 1.75 254
Informational 13.30 4.08 263 7.04 1.74 254
Appraisal 12.90 4.24 263 6.88 1.85 254
Instrumental 13.86 3.87 263 7.18 7.67 254
E > A; INS > INF & A E > INF, A, & INS; INS > A
Note.
CASSS = Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale; E = Emotional; INF = Informational; A = Appraisal;
INS = Instrumental. The Bonferonni correction was used on the ANOVAs (.05 divided by 4 =
p
< .01) and Fis-
cher’s LSD follow-up comparisons (.05 divided by 4 =
p
< .01).
Examining the four importance type scores within the Teacher subscale, the
ANOVA was significant, Wilks’ = .843,
F
(3, 253) = 15.69,
p
< .001, indicat-
ing significant differences among students’ perceptions of the importance they
place on types of teacher support. Follow-up comparisons found teacher infor-
mational support significantly higher than teacher emotional,
p
< .001, appraisal,
p
< .001, and instrumental support,
p
< .001.
Significant differences were found among the four importance type scores
within the Classmate subscale, Wilks’ = .895,
F
(3, 255) = 9.92,
p
< .001, with
post hoc comparisons finding (a) classmate emotional support significantly
higher than appraisal support,
p
< .001; (b) classmate informational support
higher than appraisal support,
p
< .001; and (c) classmate instrumental support
higher than appraisal support,
p
< .001.
Significant differences were found among the four importance type scores
within the Close Friend subscale, Wilks’ = .848,
F
(3, 251) = 15.01,
p
< .001,
with post hoc comparisons finding (a) close friend emotional support signifi-
cantly higher than informational support,
p
< .001, appraisal support
p
< .001,
and instrumental support,
p
< .01; and (b) close friend instrumental support
higher than appraisal support,
p
< .001.
Research Question 2: Investigating Relationships Between Type of
Support Within Each Source and Students’ Adjustment
Regression analyses were performed to investigate the role of type of support on
several student adjustment indicators. Specifically, the four types of support
(e.g., emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) within the relevant
source (e.g., Parent, Teacher, Classmate, or Close Friend) were entered as pre-
dictors in all analyses with the indicator scores as the dependent variables. Be-
cause of the number of regression analyses conducted, a Bonferonni correction
was applied (.05 divided by 28) to obtain a significance criterion of
p
< .001. All
b
weights,
R
2
scores, and significance levels are presented in Table 5.
Parent support types as predictors.
Examining the Personal Adjustment out-
come score, the four predictor variables (e.g., parent emotional, parent informa-
tional, parent appraisal, and parent instrumental) collectively accounted for a
significant amount,
p
< .001, of the variance, 18%, but had no significant indi-
vidual predictors. No other indicator variables were significantly related to the
parent support scores.
Teacher support types as predictors.
Regarding Teacher Support, examining
Social Skills, Academic Competence, and School Maladjustment as dependent
variables, 10%, 13%, and 30% of the variance was accounted for, respectively,
by the four types of teacher support,
p
s < .001. Furthermore, emotional support
from teachers was a significant individual predictor of Social Skills and Acade-
mic Competence,
p
s < .001. No other indicator variables were significantly re-
lated to the teacher support scores.
246 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
Classmate and Close Friend support types as predictors.
Regarding Class-
mate and Close Friend Support, regression analyses conducted found no signifi-
cant associations between type of support scores from classmates or close
friends and the indicator variables.
DISCUSSION
This study was an investigation of the relationships between types of socially
supportive behaviors and a variety of personal and school-related outcomes for
early adolescents. As predicted, results indicated that students perceive different
types of support from different sources and certain categories of supportive be-
haviors seem more related to certain outcomes.
Preliminary analyses revealed evidence that the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2000)
produces scores that can be interpreted as reliable and valid for use with adoles-
cents. Scores on the CASSS factor according to the four sources examined in the
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 247
TABLE 5. Regression Analyses on Indicator Variables from Source and Type of Support
Source and Type Social Problem Academic Clinical Emotional Personal School
of Support Skills Behaviors Competence Maladjustment Symptoms Adjustment Maladjustment
Parent
Emotional –.07 –.13 .01 –.54 –.51 .45 –.09
Informational –.08 .16 –.09 .30 .38 –.14 .19
Appraisal .20 .11 .21 –.23 –.14 .06 .30
Instrumental .07 –.08 .09 .21 .20 .04 .20
R
2
.03 .04 .05 .40 .15 .18* .15
Teacher
Emotional .39* –.28 .53* –.24 –.18 .16 –.30
Informational –.08 .01 –.17 .11 .04 .27 –.21
Appraisal .13 .13 .01 .25 .10 –.19 .15
Instrumental .09 –.01 –.14 –.19 .03 .00 –.23
R
2
.10* .04 .13* .03 .02 .08 .30*
Classmate
Emotional .03 .02 .08 –.31 –.30 .26 .13
Informational .12 –.07 –.01 .18 .07 .10 –.08
Appraisal .10 .05 .06 –.07 .003 .03 –.18
Instrumental .08 .01 –.07 .13 .02 –.07 –.24
R
2
.03 .01 .01 .05 .06 .10 .05
Close Friend
Emotional .13 –.09 .20 .18 .03 .19 .17
Informational .11 .03 –.09 –.34 .23 .33 .001
Appraisal .03 .20 .01 .02 .08 –.27 –.11
Instrumental .06 .10 –.01 .26 .17 –.07 –.18
R
2
.03 .01 .02 .05 .02 .06 .03
Note.
Standardized
b
coefficients are presented. *
p
< .001. A Bonferonni correction was applied (.05 divided by 28) for the
regressions to obtain a significance criterion of
p
< .001.
current study (e.g., parent, teacher, classmate, and close friend) appear to be
valid, internally consistent, and relatively stable over time. In addition, although
the CASSS was designed to assess information regarding four types of support
(e.g., emotional, informational, instrumental, and appraisal), it was not originally
intended to produce type scores. Evidence in the form of internal consistency
and test–retest reliability was found, however, for these type scores within each
source. The type scores can be interpreted as reliable and valid indicators of the
types of support students perceive.
In addition, preliminary analyses revealed that although early adolescent boys
and girls perceive similar levels of all types of support from their parents and
teachers, girls perceive more support of most types from classmates and friends.
These gender differences are supported by previous work (Demaray & Malecki,
2002a; Frey & Rothlisberger, 1996; Jackson & Warren, 2000; Malecki & De-
maray, 2002). This literature base suggests that girls have higher perceptions of
social support than do boys from many sources in their lives. One may hypothe-
size that girls have an inflated sense of the support that they are receiving from
people; however, there is no difference when examining support from parents
and teachers. Thus, it is important to further investigate these gender differences
to examine whether boys are truly receiving less support than girls from peer
sources in their lives or if this support is only perceived differently by boys. The
current study suggests that various types of social support from parents, teachers,
and the school are related to adjustment for early adolescents; it is important to
learn if boys are not receiving the support they need.
In a pattern close to the pattern predicted, results examining what type of sup-
port is perceived more strongly from various sources indicated that (a) emotional
and informational support were the most highly reported type of support from par-
ents; (b) informational support was most highly reported from teacher and school
sources; and (c) emotional and instrumental support scores were highest from
classmates and close friends. These findings are similar to those found by Dubow
and Ullman (1989), Richman and colleagues (1998), and Furman and Buhrmester
(1985). Furthermore, analyses conducted on students’ importance scores for the
various support types indicated a similar pattern with (a) emotional support from
parents being rated as most important; (b) informational support from teachers
and the school being voted as important; and (c) appraisal support from classmates
and friends being voted as least valued by students. These results suggest that stu-
dents rely on their parents for emotional support, such as caring and listening, and
view their parents as a source of information. Results from the current study indi-
cate that students perceive informational support from teachers more than emo-
tional support and value informational support from teachers more than emotional
support. The present study suggests that teachers should be aware of the type of
support they are providing their students and should seek to strive a balance be-
tween those types of support, particularly informational and emotional support.
As predicted, analyses illustrated the importance of examining not only over-
all support from various sources but the type of support provided by those
248 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
sources and their relation to other important behavioral indicators. Specifically,
all types of support collectively were related to personal adjustment, suggesting
that parents’ support is significantly associated with students’ personal well-
being. Parents may feel that adolescence is a time to lessen some of these re-
sources as they watch their children exert more independence; however, the re-
sults of this study suggest that adolescents’ perceptions of this love and help
from parents is an important influence in their personal well-being.
Surprisingly, the type of support perceived from teachers that seems most re-
lated to student success was emotional support. Emotional support perceived
from teachers was a significant and sole individual predictor of students’ social
skills and academic competence. This finding suggests that teachers are relied on
not only for information or evaluation (appraisal support) but that they are relied
on for emotional support. Although the value of appraisal or evaluative support,
informational, and instrumental support from teachers should not be diminished,
data indicate that relative to the other types of support, emotional support is the
most unique contributor to these outcomes. Teachers should attend to the atmos-
phere that they create in their classroom and the perceptions they create that stu-
dents are cared for and treated fairly. These emotionally supportive behaviors
from teachers are strongly related to students’ school outcomes.
No significant individual predictors were found when examining the various
types of support from classmates or close friends. This finding is somewhat sur-
prising given that other studies have found that classmate or peer support is re-
lated to student success, particularly in areas of personal adjustment (Demaray &
Malecki, 2002a, 2002b). However, when examining specific types of support, no
one type emerges as being significantly related to the indicators in the present
study.
Limitations and future directions.
First, although the current study provides
evidence that social support types are related to important outcomes, it is prema-
ture to state that levels of social support of one type or another predict those out-
comes. Future research should take a longitudinal approach to facilitate better
the investigation of predictive relationships.
Second, the sample included only students from Grades 5 to 8 (with few
Grade 5 students). Previous research has documented that there are clear devel-
opmental trends in the amount of social support perceived by children and ado-
lescents and that those trends differ for different sources of support (Demaray &
Malecki, 2002a, Malecki & Demaray, 2002). Future research should include an
investigation of the type of support using a sample of students from elementary
school through high school to examine potential developmental trends. Addi-
tionally, it would be helpful to examine more outcomes from a variety of sources
(e.g., academic records information, behavioral referrals, special education sta-
tus, parent-rated behavior and personality outcomes, etc.) to examine further
trends in the relationships between type of support and various outcomes. Third,
a more representative sample of students would have been useful as our sample
had a large number of Hispanic students from an at-risk school.
SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 249
One hypothesized limitation of the CASSS may be that it assesses perceived
support as opposed to objective support behaviors. There is some initial evi-
dence that perceived and actual support are moderately related. Demaray and El-
liott (2001) investigated the relationship among students’ perceptions of support
and their respective parents’ and teachers’ reported provision of support with a
measure that was a precursor to the CASSS. They found that students’ percep-
tions of support were moderately related to teachers’ and parents reported fre-
quency of the social support they made available to the students. However, it
may be argued that it is really only the students’ perceptions of social support
that matters. The use of self-reported perceptions of social support makes avail-
able data that may not be observable. Covert behaviors or feelings, for example,
feeling loved or cared for by your parents, may only be able to be gathered via
self-report measures (La Greca, 1990). Especially for internalizing behaviors or
feelings, such as depression, self-esteem, and perceptions of social support,
many of the cognitive and affective symptoms and thoughts are not possible to
observe (La Greca, 1990). Although one could observe the more overt behaviors
related to depression, self-esteem, and social support, it would not make sense
for the objective data to overrule students’ subjective perceptions. One cannot be
told that he or she is not depressed, should have high self-esteem or does have
support because the objective data supports that statement if the student does not
perceive it similarly. It is our view that if a child reports low social support, it is
his or her perception that matters.
The current study suggests that educators (e.g., teachers, special education in-
structors, and administrators), support personnel (e.g., school psychologists, so-
cial workers, and counselors), parents, and other people in a position to interact
with early adolescents should be aware of the support being perceived by those
young people. Results of the current study along with previous research suggest
that specific supportive behaviors perceived from adolescents’ teachers and
overall support from parents may be associated significantly with students’ per-
sonal and school adjustment. Future research should continue to examine these
practically important findings.
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SOCIAL SUPPORT TYPE 251
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Action Editor: Terry B. Gutkin
Acceptance Date: January 21, 2003
Christine Kerres Malecki, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Psychology Depart-
ment at Northern Illinois University. Her research interests include the study of social
support (measurement and relations to student adjustment) and curriculum-based meas-
urement in the area of written language. Dr. Malecki received her Ph.D. from the Univer-
sity of Wisconsin-Madison.
Michelle Kilpatrick Demaray, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Psychology De-
partment at Northern Illinois University. Her research interests include the measurement
of social support and investigating the relationships among social support and students’
academic, social, and behavioral adjustment. She also has research interests in attention-
deficit/hyperactivity disorder. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-
Madison.
252 MALECKI AND DEMARAY
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... Several types of support can facilitate successful career transitions. These different types of support should be studied and recognized for their role in helping individuals through career transitions (Barling et al., 1988;Malecki and Demaray, 2003). Likewise, an understanding of who provides social support has implications for the practical implementation of offering support for career transitions. ...
... In contrast, instrumental support offers tangible help to recipients in need (House's, 1981). Instrumental support can include providing someone with materials or resources, such as money or time (Malecki and Demaray, 2003). Informational support involves only the transmission of information, advice, directives, guidance, or suggestions from the support provider to the recipient (House's, 1981). ...
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... Fourth, the study only explored family support as a unidimensional construct. Previous research has subdivided social support as instrumental, informational, appraisal or emotional support (Malecki & Demaray, 2003). Future research could explore the impacts of different types of family support on psychological capital. ...
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... Instrumental support or tangible support is a relief given by an individual to another individual in need in the form of money, material, or time allocated to that individual [71]. In this study, the instrumental support received by the victims was in the form of goods or materials, financial aid, energy, time, as well as any form of direct relief during and after the flood disaster. ...
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This dissertation addresses the question to what extent several individual characteristics of youth with vulnerable school careers relate to their vocational identity, that is, how they define themselves as a worker. Malleable characteristics get special attention in this respect, in order to provide practitioners in education and social work with suggestions to improve their actions. In the context of special curricula aimed at these youth, mentors and social workers have individual meetings with their students and pupils. That is why this dissertation also addresses the question to which mentor qualities the at-risk students and their mentors attach most value.
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