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Research has started to explore the associations between social support and wellbeing among children and adolescents, but the overall relationship is still unclear. This study explored: (1) the overall association between social support and well-being, (2) the association differences among categories of well-being, (3) the association differences among different types of social support measures, (4) the association differences among different support sources, and (5) whether the association between social support and well-being changed with participants' age. Two hundred forty-six studies were collected and analyzed, and the results indicated a positive but small association between social support and well-being. Additionally, moderator analyses indicated that social support was more strongly associated with self-concept, perceived support was more strongly associated with well-being support from teachers and school personnel was more strongly associated with well-being, and the association between social support and wellbeing increased with age. The implications and possible applications of the relationship between social support and well-being among children and adolescents are discussed.
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Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 6, 2010, pp. 624-645
Address correspondence to Po Sen Chu or Donald Saucier at Kansas State University,
Department of Psychology, 492 Bluemont Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506-5302; E-mail: or
Kansas State University
Research has started to explore the associations between social support and well-
being among children and adolescents, but the overall relationship is still un-
clear. This study explored: (1) the overall association between social support and
well-being, (2) the association differences among categories of well-being, (3)
the association differences among different types of social support measures, (4)
the association differences among different support sources, and (5) whether the
association between social support and well-being changed with participants’
age. Two hundred forty-six studies were collected and analyzed, and the results
indicated a positive but small association between social support and well-being.
Additionally, moderator analyses indicated that social support was more strongly
associated with self-concept, perceived support was more strongly associated
with well-being, support from teachers and school personnel was more strongly
associated with well-being, and the association between social support and well-
being increased with age. The implications and possible applications of the rela-
tionship between social support and well-being among children and adolescents
are discussed.
The associations between social support and well-being in adults
have been heavily researched, but the study of such relationships
among children did not receive much attention until the 1980s (Belle,
1989; Dubow & Ullman, 1989; Wolchik, Beals, & Sandler, 1989), de-
spite it having been suggested that children and adolescents need
social support more than adults do (Belle, 1989). Fortunately, the
quantity of research on children and adolescents’ social support has
since grown plentifully (Wolchik, Beals, & Sandler, 1989). However,
the overall relationships between social support and well-being in
children and adolescents remain unclear, and researchers have not
yet identified which aspects of social support are critical for children
and adolescents (Dubow & Ullman, 1989). Therefore, the main pur-
pose of this meta-analysis was to explore the associations between
social support and well-being in children and adolescents. We be-
lieved it would be beneficial to aggregate related studies in order
to determine the valence and magnitude of the relationships, pro-
viding an authoritative basis for describing the association between
social support and well-being among children and adolescents.
Social support is defined as the provision of both psychological
and material resources with the intention of helping the recipients
to cope with stress (Cohen, 2004). Cohen and Wills (1985) proposed
that social support is related to well-being because it offers posi-
tive emotions, a sense of self-worth, and predictability in life; it also
functions as a stress buffer by reinforcing self-esteem, self-efficacy,
and problem solving behaviors. They stated that though most of
the studies on social support are correlational and therefore do not
imply causal relationships, the evidence from studies using animal
research, social-psychological analogue experiments, and prospec-
tive surveys suggest that social support has positive effects on well-
However, in studying the relationship between social support and
well-being, researchers and practitioners have faced a legitimate
problem: the diverse definitions, measurements, and outcome vari-
ables utilized across studies (Barrera, 1986; Smith, Fernengel, Hol-
croft, Gerald, & Marien, 1994). The definitions of social support for
children and adolescents by different researchers, though similar,
often have slightly different emphases. Researchers have noted that
social support is a multidimensional construct and therefore is ana-
lyzed and measured via many different approaches, such as one’s
social network size, how much one believes he or she has actually
received support from others, or how much one believes he or she
will receive support when help is needed (Barrera, 1986; Dubow &
Ullman, 1989). We believe it is important to synthesize related stud-
ies to detect the overall relationship of social support and children
and adolescents’ well-being, and it is equally important to learn
whether these different types of measures associate with well-being
differently. Furthermore, many studies also assess how much chil-
626 CHU ET AL.
dren and adolescents receive support from different sources such as
family, friends, and teachers. Which source provides support that is
in general more strongly associated with the well-being of children
and adolescents?
The purposes of this meta-analysis, therefore, were to estimate the
overall relationship between social support and well-being among
children and adolescents, and to examine moderators that would
affect this relationship. The three categories of moderators exam-
ined in this study were types of measures of social support, sources
of social support, and different outcomes of well-being.
Evidence of the benefits of social support for adults is bountiful (for
example, see Cohen & Wills, 1985; Schwarzer & Leppin, 1991; Uchi-
no, Cacioppo, & Kiecolt-Glaser, 1997). Similarly, studies generally
show a positive relationship between social support and well-being
in children and adolescents (for example, see Malecki & Demaray,
2006 for a brief review about social support as a buffer to stress for
students). But some studies have found trivial or even negative rela-
tionships. For instance, Berndt (1989) suggested that the friendships
among children and adolescents can have negative aspects such as
conflicts and/or competition that need to be examined. There is also
evidence suggesting the association between social support and
psychological adjustment among pregnant teenage mothers could
be trivial (Barrera, 1981). Borcherding, SmithBattle, and Schneider
(2005) further stated that many methods used to measure teenage
mothers’ social support only focus on its benefits, rather than the
potential difficulties and conflicts in their relationships, indicating
that supportive relationships may not always be positive. Thus,
though evidence suggests an overall positive relationship between
social support and well-being among children and adolescents,
many factors may influence its magnitude.
Further, because children and adolescents’ relationships with their
support providers are potentially quite different from adults’, the as-
sociation between social support and well-being among them may
also be different. Unlike adults, most children, especially younger
children, tend to have vertical relationships with other adults (e.g.,
parents, teachers); in other words, those adults can potentially ex-
ert control over them (Russell, Pettit, & Mize, 1998). Hartup (1989)
stated that vertical and horizontal relationships have somewhat
different impacts on children and adolescents, and thus the social
support they receive and perceive, and its effects, may be different
as well.
Because the overall magnitude of the relationship between social
support and well-being is not well-established for children and ad-
olescents, and because children tend to experience support differ-
ently than adults (e.g., vertical vs. horizontal), a synthesis of studies
to investigate these issues is beneficial. Furthermore, Barrera (1986)
showed that the outcome variables examined among children and
adolescents across studies were very diverse. This suggests that a
moderator analysis is necessary. In Amato and Keith’s (1991) meta-
analysis on parental divorce and the well-being of children, they
coded outcome measures into 8 categories (e.g., academic achieve-
ment, conduct problems of children and adolescents, psychologi-
cal adjustment) and performed a moderator analysis across these
categories. In our current meta-analysis, we adopted and adjusted
their coding schemes to examine and compare different categories
of outcomes across studies.
When studying the relationship between social support and well-
being, the diverse definitions and measures of social support have
posed a challenge (Barrera, 1986; Smith et al., 1994). Barrera (1986)
attempted to overcome the problem by categorizing the instru-
ments into three types of measures based on what they assess: first,
social network assesses children and adolescents’ social network size
and density; second, enacted support assesses the frequency of sup-
port that children and adolescents’ believe they have received; and
third, perceived support assesses children and adolescents’ percep-
tions of how much support is available if needed. Research from
adult literature recognized perceived support as a better measure
when evaluating the association between social support and well-
being. For example, Cohen and Wills (1985) discovered that social
support’s protective effect was only found in studies measuring
perceived social support, and that those studies that utilized instru-
ments for measuring social network and actual support received in
the past did not produce significant effects. Their review suggested
628 CHU ET AL.
that among the three types of measures, perceived support is the
type that is most related to well-being.
Indeed, based on past literature, it appears that the measures of
social network and enacted support did not relate to well-being as
strongly as perceived support did. For the measure of social net-
work, Rook (1984) indicated that supportive relationships might
also be the sources of conflicts, and therefore are not necessarily
beneficial. Dubow and Ullman (1989) also found that one’s measure
of network size was unrelated to enacted and perceived support.
They reasoned that one deep and meaningful relationship may be
sufficient to protect one from stress, and more relationships are not
necessarily more beneficial. Consequently, simply counting one’s
number of relationships seems not to be the best predictor of one’s
Regarding enacted support, studies show that support that is ac-
tually received may not be as beneficial as perceived support. Tay-
lor et al. (2004) summarized some potential reasons: the provided
support may not be what is really needed, the help offered may be
perceived as intrusive, and help by others may reduce one’s self-es-
teem. In contrast, an individual may be comforted by knowing that
social support is available during times of stress. From this perspec-
tive, Taylor et al. (2004) suggested that social support does not need
to be activated to be beneficial; the perception of social support may
be more important than received support.
Thus, based on past research, perceived social support should be
best related to well-being, followed by enacted support and social
network size. The moderator analysis of this meta-analysis exam-
ined this prediction.
Cauce and Srebnik (1990) identified three main sources of support
for children and adolescents: family, friends, and school person-
nel. Though research recognizes the importance of both family and
friend supports for children and adolescents’ well-being (e.g., see
Bugental & Grusec, 2006 for a review), these relationships can also
be sources of conflicts (e.g., Barrera, Chassin, & Rogosch, 1993).
Rook (1984) stated that the interactions within individuals’ social
networks are often assumed by many researchers to be supportive,
but in fact may sometimes be negative, including such things as
arguments and invasion of privacy. Further, some studies found
negative associations between friends’ support and well-being. For
example, Borum (2000) found adolescents’ relationships with peers
sometimes are associated with negative outcomes of well-being
(e.g., drug abuse or delinquency); Kerr, Preuss, and King (2006) also
found a positive relationship between peer support and suicidal
ideation among male adolescents. These studies, along with many
others, discovered trivial or negative outcomes from peer support
among children and adolescents. Though at least one study sug-
gested that the conflicts may not necessarily neutralize the positive
outcomes (Barrera, Chassin, & Rogosch, 1993), it is still important to
investigate the magnitude of overall relationships of these sources
of support with well-being.
Regarding school personnel (e.g., teachers) support, though there
is relatively little research on this source compared to parent and
friend support (Benhorin & McMahon, 2008), studies suggest posi-
tive associations between teachers’ support and well-being out-
comes, including improved emotional adjustment, better academ-
ic-related achievement and behaviors, and fewer psychosomatic
symptoms (e.g., Bru, Murberg, & Stephens, 2001; Natvig, Albrek-
sten, Anderssen, & Qvarnstrom, 1999; Wentzel, 1998). Murdock and
Bolch (2005) also found a positive link between teacher support
and school adjustment (assessed by school belonging and academic
achievement) among gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school stu-
dents. The empirical evidence generally shows a positive relation-
ship between school and teacher support and well-being among
children and adolescents.
Based merely on the related studies on different sources of sup-
port, it is difficult to distinguish which source of support will be
associated with well-being most strongly. Indeed, until now, re-
search seems to be inconclusive on the relative importance of these
sources of support on children and adolescents’ well-being (e.g.,
Criss, Shaw, Moilanen, Hitchings, & Ingoldsby, 2009). Therefore,
this meta-analysis explored the relationships between these sources
and well-being in order to examine which source was associated
with well-being most strongly.
To summarize, we investigated the following research questions
in our meta-analysis:
1. What is the magnitude of the mean effect size between social
support and well-being among children and adolescents?
630 CHU ET AL.
2. Are there differences in the magnitude and direction of mean
effect sizes among the different categories of well-being (e.g.,
academic achievement, conduct problems of children and ad-
olescents, psychological adjustment)?
3. Are there differences in the magnitude and direction of mean
effect sizes between different types of social support measures
(e.g., size, enacted, and perceived) and well-being?
4. Are there differences in the magnitude and direction of mean
effect sizes between different support sources (e.g., family
members, peers) and well-being?
Finally, because younger children tend to have vertical relationships
with their support providers, we examined whether the relation-
ship between support and well-being changes with age. Therefore,
we also examined whether age served as a significant moderator of
the relationship:
5. Is age a significant moderator of the relationship between so-
cial support and well-being?
We located studies for potential inclusion using the PsycINFO
(1900-2008) and Eric databases (1966-2008). First, the key word “so-
cial support” was used to search for studies (articles, book chapters,
and dissertations) that specifically used participants of childhood,
preschool age, school age, or adolescence as samples. Studies had
to be written in English, be published in the United States,1 and be
quantitative studies. A total of nearly 1,400 articles, abstracts, or texts
were scanned or reviewed. Reference lists of studies we retrieved
were examined to identify other studies for potential inclusion.
1. We set this criterion in order to control the variable of culture. Evidence suggests
that the relationships between social support and well-being are influenced by culture.
Kim, Sherman, and Taylor (2008) stated that the study of social support should take
the social relationships patterns of different cultures into account, because how
people sense and utilize social support depends on how they see the self and their
relationships with others, and different cultures have different assumptions and
expectations on these aspects. In other words, people of different cultures have different
perceptions of social support, and inclusion of those people could cause potential
confounds. This was the same reason we excluded studies of immigrant samples.
Correlational studies that met the following inclusion criteria were
included. First, participants must have been children and/or ado-
lescents, including preschoolers, kindergarteners, elementary stu-
dents, middle school students, and high school students. Second,
studies were conducted in the United States. Third, correlations,
means and standard deviations, p values, or other statistics suffi-
cient for the calculation of an effect size of the relationship between
social support and well-being were included. If a study did not
have information adequate for the calculation of effect sizes (e.g.,
only reported multivariate statistics), it was excluded. Fourth,
samples were not sojourners or immigrants. Finally, the measure
of social support was derived directly from self-reports of the sam-
ples instead of from parent-report or lab-observation. For example,
Wertlieb, Weigel, and Feldstein (1987) realized the limitation of ob-
taining children’s social support from their mothers and suggested
children’s self-report was a more valid index of their own social
support. This opinion is shared by other researchers (e.g., Cauce &
Srebnik, 1990; Compas, 1987; Dubow & Ullman, 1989).
Two hundred forty-six published (N = 199) and unpublished (N
= 47) studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the
analyses.2 The sample sizes of individual studies ranged from 21
to 14,211, and samples’ ages ranged from 3 to 20 years.3 The total
number of participants across all studies was 121,432. The publica-
tion years ranged from 1980 to 2008, with a mean publication year
of 2000.94.
Each study was coded for the following characteristics: name of the
first author, publication year, number of total participants, mean age
2. All the studies included in the meta-analysis are available from the authors.
3. Though our maximum age limit was high school students only, 8 studies (k =
26) reported students in high schools up to the age of 20. Because the number of high
school students over age 18 was very small, in order to preserve the information the
studies could provide we decided to retain those studies.
632 CHU ET AL.
or grade levels of participants, races of participants if reported, the
instrument used to measure social support, gender differences in
terms of effect sizes if reported, and the relevant statistics for calcu-
lation of effect sizes. If a study did not provide an r value to report
the effect size between social support and well-being, we extracted
the statistics reported that could be transformed into correlation
coefficients assessing the effect sizes of the relationships between
social support and well-being according to the formulas provided
by Rosenthal and Rosnow (1991).
When studying the associations between parental divorce and the
well-being of children, Amato and Keith (1991) coded the variables
related to well-being into the following eight categories:
(a) academic achievement (standardized achievement tests, grades,
teachers’ ratings, or intelligence); (b) conduct (misbehavior, aggres-
sion, or delinquency); (c) psychological adjustment (depression, anxi-
ety, or happiness); (d) self-concept (self-esteem, perceived compe-
tence, or internal locus of control); (e) social adjustment (popularity,
loneliness, or cooperativeness); (f) mother-child relations (affection,
help, or quality of interaction); (g) father-child relations; and (h) other.
(p. 28)
After scanning and reviewing the 246 articles, we found that the
outcome variables that were studied generally fit this categoriza-
tion, and therefore we adopted this categorization with some modi-
fications. The first 5 categories (a-e) were adopted, and 4 additional
categories were added: health (e.g., exercise frequency, eating hab-
its, Body Mass Index (BMI), healthy habits such as diet and avoiding
substance use); coping skills (e.g., with anger, burnout); career (e.g.,
career planning, career outcome expectation, self-efficacy in finding
a good career path after graduation); and other (included different
overall measurements, such as overall life satisfaction, overall adap-
tive/maladaptive behaviors, quality of life, self-concept combined
with academic achievement, or some variables that did not belong
to any category, such as capacity for reflection).
Social support measurements were coded into 5 categories: first,
size (those that measure the number of people in participants’ social
network, such as number of friends); second, enacted (those that ask
participants’ perception of how much help they actually received
for a certain period of time in the past, such as participants’ esti-
mation of the frequency of parents praising or listening to them in
the past month); third, perceived (those that measure participants’
perception of availability of help if they need it, such as how much
the participants believe they can rely on their parents when they
are in trouble); fourth, seeking (those that measure how much par-
ticipants seek social support when they are depressed or anxious);
and fifth, other (those measures that failed to differentiate differ-
ent aspects of social support such as The Network of Relationships
Inventory by Furman and Buhrmester (1985), or the measures that
access size and satisfaction of social support but the studies failed
to report them separately).
We also coded the sources of support into 4 categories: family/rela-
tive support, friend support, teacher and school support, and others
(e.g., counselors, other adults, and communities).
Age. We coded participants’ mean age in order to examine the rela-
tionship between age and effect sizes using a continuous moderator
analysis. Some studies did not provide the mean age of the partici-
pants, but almost all provided participants’ grade levels in school,
therefore we used that information to estimate the mean age.
Publication Years. Finally, we were interested in examining wheth-
er the relationships remained stable over time. Therefore, the publi-
cation years of the studies were tested as moderators of the relation-
ship between social support and well-being.
A study may contribute more than one effect size because social
support was often used to correlate with more than one outcome.
634 CHU ET AL.
A total of 901 effect sizes were extracted from the 246 studies and
included in the analysis. Forty-four studies (17.89%) contributed 1
effect size, 72 studies (29.27%) contributed 2 effect sizes, 44 studies
(17.87%) contributed 3 effect sizes, 26 studies (10.57%) contributed
4 effect sizes, 5 studies (2.03%) contributed 5 effect sizes, 27 studies
(10.98%) contributed 6 effect sizes, 8 studies (3.25%) contributed 8
effect sizes, 12 studies (4.88%) contributed 9 effect sizes, 3 studies
(1.22%) contributed 12 effect sizes, 2 studies (0.81%) contributed 15
effect sizes, 1 study (0.41%) contributed 16 effect sizes, and 2 studies
(0.81%) contributed 18 effect sizes.
Most of the coding of the variables was straightforward, but the
classification of well-being variables and types of support into cat-
egories was somewhat more subjective. Therefore, we performed
reliability tests in which the first and third authors independently
coded 50 well-being variables and types of support. The Cohen’s
Kappa was .71 (p < .05) for well-being variables and .80 (p < .01) for
types of support. The disagreements were resolved by discussion.
DSTAT (Johnson, 1989), a computer software program for the meta-
analytic review of research literature, was utilized to analyze the
effect sizes. The overall effect size was calculated using two meth-
ods. First, when one study provided more than one effect size, the
study’s effect sizes were first synthesized and corrected based on
sample sizes, such that each study contributed only one effect size.
Second, all 901 effect sizes were analyzed for an overall effect size.
A histogram of the distribution of all 901 effect sizes is presented
in Figure 1. As Figure 1 illustrated, the distribution approximates a
normal distribution.
Based on the analysis of only one effect size per study, both the
overall unweighted and weighted effect sizes have the same value
when rounded to two decimal places, r = .18, p < .0001. Using all 901
effect sizes, both the overall unweighted and weighted effect sizes
have the same value when rounded to two decimal places, r = .17,
p < .0001. These results indicated that the relationship between per-
ceived social support and overall well-being was positive in direc-
tion but only small in magnitude. Because the results of one effect
size per study and all effect sizes were very close, we used all 901
effect sizes for all following analyses.4
Among the 246 analyzed studies, 47 of them were unpublished
(19%). Interestingly, the mean effect size of unpublished studies (k
= 203, r = .191, p < .00001) was significantly stronger than that of
published studies (k = 698, r = .167, p < .00001), QB (1) = 47.84, p <
.00001. We calculated the Fail-safe N using Orwin’s (1983) formula
(dc = .01) in order to address the concern of the “file-drawer prob-
lem:” how many unpublished studies that we did not retrieve that
would be needed to nullify the results using the effect size from the
246 effect sizes. The result showed that 3,936 unpublished studies
with nonsignificant results were needed to nullify the effect size to
a near-zero level, which suggests the results are robust.
A homogeneity analysis indicated significant heterogeneity among
the effect sizes of the studies, Qw (900) = 17,844.57, p < .00001. The
analysis revealed that 462 effect sizes (51.28%) would need to be
excluded in order to achieve homogeneity among the effect sizes,
Qw (438) = 501.42, p = .051. The results indicated that it would be
worthwhile to perform moderator analyses in order to potentially
account for some of the variance among the effect sizes.
4. We realized using all 901 effect sizes could potentially raise independence issues.
However, because the results of one effect size per study and all effect sizes were very
close, it suggested independence was not a serious threat. Therefore, we retained all
effect sizes to have more informative moderator analyses.
FIGURE 1. The distribution of the 901 effect sizes of the relationships
between social support and well-being for children and adolescents.
636 CHU ET AL.
The overall weighted mean effect sizes of the 9 categories of well-
being were calculated and the results are shown in Table 1. The
mean effect sizes range from .098 to .265, which suggests somewhat
weak to medium magnitudes of relationships between social sup-
port and these well-being outcomes. Post hoc contrasts were per-
formed and the results are indicated in Table 1. The results of the
contrasts show that the mean effect sizes of self-concept and other
outcomes are significantly stronger than the rest of outcomes, and
academic achievement and coping skills are significantly weaker
than the rest.
The relationships between types of social support measures and
well-being are shown in Table 2. As the results indicated, the mean
effect sizes range from .01 to .201, which suggests the mean effect
sizes of social support measures vary from almost zero (social net-
work size) to moderate in magnitude (perceived support). Because
research suggests that perceived support is a better predictor to
adjustment relatively to other types of measures (e.g., Dubow &
Ullman, 1989; Taylor et al., 2004), a priori contrasts was conducted
among the support measures, and the results are shown in Table 2.
The results indicated that the measures of perceived support were
TABLE 1. Mean Weighted Effect Sizes by Categories of Outcomes of Well-Being
Categories k r 90% CI
Academic achievement 164 .105a.101 / .108
Conduct 141 .141b.137 / .145
Psychological adjustment 262 .199c.195 / .202
Self-concept 138 .265d.259 / .270
Social adjustment 68 .212c, e .204 / .220
Health 45 .238e, f .230 / .247
Coping skills 17 .098a, b .081 / .116
Career 14 .215c, e, f .199 / .231
Other 34 .252d, f .241 / .262
Note. Effect sizes with different subscripts differ signicantly.
significantly more strongly associated with well-being than the oth-
er measures of social support.
The mean weighted effect sizes for support sources were also cal-
culated (see Table 3). The mean effect sizes ranged from .098 (other)
to .209 (teacher and school personnel support), which suggests that
the relationships between different sources of support and well-
being vary from somewhat weak to moderate in magnitude. Post
hoc contrasts were also performed and the results are indicated in
Table 3. The results of the contrasts show that the mean effect size of
teacher and school personnel support is significantly stronger than
the rest of the effect sizes, and the support of “other” sources is sig-
nificantly weaker than the rest.
Age. Average age was used as a continuous moderator. The mean
age was 13.75, and the moderator analysis revealed a positive sig-
nificant correlation between age and effect sizes, z = 3.93, p < .0001.
This indicated that the strength of the relationship between social
support and overall well-being increases with the age of partici-
pants across the studies.
Publication Year. The publication year was analyzed as a continu-
ous moderator. The result was significant, z = 2.55, p < .05, suggest-
ing that the effect sizes have increased significantly over the years.
Gender Difference. Finally, there were 18 studies measuring male
and female participants’ relationships between support and well-
TABLE 2. Mean Weighted Effect Sizes by Types of Social Support Measures
Categories k r 90% CI
Size 53 .01a.004 / .017
Enacted 147 .143b.139 / .147
Perceived 604 .201c.199 / .204
Seeking 21 .069d.056 / .082
Other 76 .191e.183 / .199
Note. Effect sizes with different subscripts differ signicantly.
638 CHU ET AL.
being separately, 23 studies used female participants only, and 1
study used males only. Though these were only 17% of the total
number of studies analyzed, we still conducted an analysis compar-
ing the gender difference on mean effect sizes among these stud-
ies. The results indicated a significant difference between genders:
female participants (n = 8,430, k = 76, r = .199, p < .00001) had a
significantly stronger mean effect size than did male participants (n
= 2,683, k = 22, r = .144, p < .00001), QB (1) = 17.11, p < .0001. This sug-
gests that female participants have a stronger relationship between
social support and well-being than do male participants.
This meta-analysis explored the relationships between social sup-
port and children’s and adolescents’ well-being. The results indicat-
ed a significantly positive but small association, and that was mod-
erated by different outcomes of well-being (e.g., academic achieve-
ment, conduct problems, psychological adjustment). Additional
moderator analyses revealed that measures of perceived social sup-
port are more strongly associated with well-being than other types
of measures. Different sources of support had different strengths
of relationships with well-being, with teacher and school person-
nel support being stronger than other sources of support. Age was
a significant moderator in the relationship between social support
and well-being, which indicated that the effect sizes increased as the
average age of the children and adolescents increased. Studies that
reported effect sizes across genders were analyzed and the results
suggested female children and adolescents have stronger relation-
ships between support and well-being than do male children and
adolescents. Finally, publication year was a significant moderator
between social support and well-being, suggesting that effect sizes
increased significantly over the years.
TABLE 3. Mean Weighted Effect Sizes by Sources of Support
Categories k r 90% CI
Family/Relative 297 .192a.189 / .195
Friend 213 .100b.096 / .103
Teacher/School 125 .209c.204 / .213
Other 42 .098b.087 / .109
Note. Effect sizes with different subscripts differ signicantly.
Though the overall association between social support and well-
being was significant, the magnitude was small. This result may
fall short of the expectations of some researchers; after all, social
support is considered one of the most effective ways for individu-
als to cope with stress (e.g., Cohen & Wills, 1985; Dubow & Ull-
man, 1989; Taylor et al., 2004). However, small relationships do not
necessarily indicate insignificant or unimportant effects (Lipsey &
Wilson, 1993). In fact, according to Rosenthal’s (1984) formula for
binomial effect sizes, a correlation of .17 between social support and
well-being indicates that 58.5% of participants who have social sup-
port experience well-being, which implies that nearly 60% of chil-
dren and adolescents benefit from social support. We believe that
the magnitude of this impact is substantial, and therefore deserves
further research efforts. Further, the moderator analyses revealed
weak to medium magnitudes of relationships between social sup-
port and different well-being outcomes. The mean effect sizes for
self-concept and other were the strongest, while the effect sizes for
academic achievement and coping skills were the weakest. Future
research should further explore the potential reasons for the differ-
ences in these effect sizes, and also the mediators of the relation-
ships between support and these outcomes of well-being among
children and adolescents.
The analysis also revealed that the measures of perceived social
support were more strongly associated with well-being than other
types of measures, confirming what most literature suggests (e.g.,
Cohen & Wills, 1985; Dubow & Ullman, 1989; Taylor et al., 2004;
Wethington & Kessler, 1986). On the other hand, the size of social
networks was nearly unrelated to well-being, supporting the view
that counting one’s number of supportive relationships is not a
good indicator of well-being (Cohen & Wills, 1985; Dubow & Ull-
man, 1989). Also, enacted support was less strongly related to well-
being than was perceived support, suggesting that the support one
actually receives is not as beneficial as one’s perception of support.
As Taylor et al. (2004) suggested, receiving actual support from oth-
640 CHU ET AL.
ers might reduce one’s self-esteem, received support might not be
what one really needs, or the support may be seen to be intrusive.
These factors may cause stress to individuals that receive support,
and may therefore explain why enacted support is not strongly re-
lated to well-being.
Furthermore, the association between seeking support and well-
being was also weak. Bolger, Zuckerman, and Kessler (2000) indi-
cated that seeking support from one’s social network may cause ad-
ditional stress because asking for help makes one see him or herself
as less capable, and feel embarrassed to trouble others. Thus, enact-
ed and seeking support may not be as strongly related to well-being
as perceived support because they may activate stress. However, an
alternative viewpoint was suggested by Barrera (1986), who found
that some studies reported negative relationships between mea-
sures of enacted support and psychological well-being (assessed
by psychopathological symptoms), and explained that the reason
could be a mobilization of support due to individuals’ increased
stress. In other words, seeking or receiving actual support does not
activate stress; it is when under stress that individuals activate these
types of support. We suggest that future research should further
investigate how much the relationship between enacted or seeking
support and well-being is explained by individuals activating these
types of support due to increased stress.
Among the five types of social support measures, the other cat-
egory had a relatively strong relationship with well-being when
compared to other types of measures. We further examined the in-
struments in this category and found that some measures were mul-
tidimensional scales and the authors did not report effect sizes inde-
pendently (e.g., failed to report measures of support network size
and perceived support satisfaction separately). Some other scales
were developed by the authors themselves and some contained
only one item. Therefore, the validity of these measures is question-
able. Speculatively, this could potentially contribute to spuriously
high correlations between these measures and well-being, but fur-
ther research investigating this issue is needed.
In terms of sources of support, support from teachers and school
personnel had the strongest association with children and adoles-
cents’ well-being among the four sources, followed by the support
from family members. Friend support and “other” support had the
weakest relationships with well-being. The findings that the mean
effect sizes of both family and friend support were weaker than
support from teachers and school personnel deserve further explo-
ration. Many studies suggest the importance of parental support
in children and adolescents’ development (e.g., Ainsworth, Blehar,
Waters, & Wall, 1978; Steinberg, 1990), but some studies found that
relationships with family and friends can also be sources of conflicts
(Barrera, Chassin, & Rogosch, 1993; Rook, 1984). We speculated that
these conflicts might lessen the effects of family and friend support
on well-being. Further, research has failed to definitively determine
the relative importance of family support and friend support (Criss
et al., 2009). The results of this moderator analysis should offer evi-
dence for this issue: friend support was significantly less strongly
related to well-being than was family support. We speculate that
one of the reasons may be that friends are the only source of support
that children and adolescents can choose by themselves. Therefore,
children of similar characteristics, whether or not those are well-
adjusted characteristics, tend to associate with each other (Erdley,
Nangle, Newrnan, & Carpenter, 2001), and thus are more likely to
encourage each other on the qualities they share. For instance, ag-
gressive children will be more likely to choose aggressive friends
(Earls, Cairns, & Mercy, 1993). As a consequence the aggressive be-
havior may be magnified, and well-being diminished because it is
not a well-adjusted behavior. Future research should study whether
this magnifying effect of characteristics associated with maladjust-
ment does account for the weaker association between friend sup-
port and well-being, or whether there are other important factors.
Age was significantly associated with the effect sizes between sup-
port and well-being. The older the participants were, the stronger
the effect sizes became. This seems to indicate that teenagers po-
tentially benefited from social support more than did children. One
potential implication is that vertical relationships, which are typical
among younger children and the adults they relate to, may not be as
beneficial for well-being as horizontal relationships. More research
is needed to examine why age is a moderator for the relationship
between support and well-being.
642 CHU ET AL.
The effect sizes have increased significantly over the years. Specu-
latively, because the number of studies of children and adolescents’
social support has been growing over the years (Wolchik et al.,
1989), the increasing of the effect sizes may imply that better mea-
sures were developed later that evaluated the relationship between
support and well-being more effectively.
Regarding gender differences, though some studies of children
and adolescents showed no gender differences in the correlation
between support and well-being (e.g., Santos, Richards, & Bleckley,
2007), and some found the relationship to be significant only for
male participants (e.g., Cumsille & Epstein, 1994), our analysis of 42
studies (k = 98) suggested that the mean effect size for female par-
ticipants was stronger than was the mean effect size for male par-
ticipants. This may indicate that teenage girls rely more on interde-
pendent relationships for well-being (Caselman, Self, & Self, 2006).
This seems to be consistent with the adult literature. For example,
Belle (1987) indicated that women use and receive more support
than do men. Miller and Stiver (1997) stated that women’s health
development is associated with their interpersonal relationships.
Kendler, Myers, and Prescott’s (2005) longitudinal study involving
more than 1,000 opposite-sex dizygotic twin pairs also found that
supportive relationships are more protective against depression for
women. Thus, it appears that women may have learned to rely on
their relationships for well-being at a young age. However, given
the diverse outcome variables of well-being studied in social sup-
port literature, the same pattern of gender difference may not be
consistent across all outcomes of well-being. We believe more re-
search is needed on these gender differences.
We believe the results found in this meta-analysis have practical
implications. First, to our knowledge, this meta-analysis is the first
attempt to synthesize the literature assessing the relationship be-
tween social support and well-being among these age groups. Con-
sequently, the findings should offer new knowledge and direction
for future research on the well-being of children and adolescents.
Furthermore, Cohen and Wills (1985) suggested that social support
is a significant contributor to the well-being of individuals. There-
fore, the finding that social support is positively linked to the well-
being of children and adolescents may indicate possibilities for in-
tervention. We also have suggested potential research directions in
regard to moderators such as measures of social support, sources of
social support, different outcomes of well-being, and age and gen-
ders of children and adolescents. In conclusion, this meta-analysis
has provided a further understanding of social support and well-
being among children and adolescents, and may serve as a foun-
dation for future research on the benefits of social support for the
well-being of children and adolescents.
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... To enhance the generalizability of the findings, future studies should consider expanding the sample collection to include participants from diverse regions. Secondly, previous research has consistently demonstrated that perceived social support and perceived self-esteem vary with age [97,98]. Thus, it is crucial to control for different age groups when examining the mediating role of perceived social support and perceived self-esteem. ...
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Well-being is an ordinary life goal that many people strive to achieve. Recently, there has been a growing interest in academic research on how consumption can enhance well-being. Hedonic sports consumption, which is associated with positive emotions, can positively impact an individual’s subjective well-being by providing both physical and mental enjoyment and relieving the stresses of everyday life. However, there is a need for more comprehensive research on the mechanisms that connect meaningful sports consumption behaviors, which may also be accompanied by negative emotions, to the mental health of individuals. Therefore, the primary objective of this study was to explore the potential mechanisms of meaningful sports consumption behaviors and eudaimonic well-being in individual mental health. Based on the SOR theory, this study develops a comprehensive conceptual model to examine the impact of sports consumption behavior on individuals’ eudaimonic well-being. The study’s results indicate that engaging in meaningful sports consumption behaviors can positively influence individuals’ eudaimonic well-being. Additionally, the study finds that perceived social support and perceived self-esteem among sports consumers significantly and positively impact their eudaimonic well-being. Finally, the study reveals that perceived social support and perceived self-esteem mediate the pathway through which meaningful sports consumption behaviors affect eudaimonic well-being. These findings contribute to our understanding of how to enhance sports consumers’ eudaimonic well-being and promote meaningful sports consumption behaviors. Therefore, it is recommended that sports marketers focus on providing meaningful sports service offerings, fostering consumer–society connections, and increasing respect and appreciation for consumers. These marketing insights can be valuable in promoting positive sports consumption experiences.
... Firstly, according to the social causation theory, perceived social support is an antecedent of mental well-being (Cohen & Wills, 1985). Those youth who perceive higher social support, are likely to have better mental well-being (Chu et al., 2010). This positive impact of social support on youth well-being can be attributed to the emotional, informational, and instrumental resources that it provides (Pearson, 1986). ...
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Although social support and mental health associations have been extensively investigated, their reciprocal relations in vulnerable youth remain understudied. This study investigated the relations between perceived social support and symptom distress over time whilst differentiating between support from caregivers and significant others. The sample included 257 youth (79% self-identified women, Mage = 19.2, SD = 2.5) who were receiving mental health treatment. Using a Random-Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Model, results revealed no significant concurrent associations, between-person effects, or cross-lagged effects. The autoregressive effects suggested that perceived social support from caregivers was relatively stable over time, while symptom distress and support from a significant other were not. In all, this study challenged the validity of the social causation and social erosion models in the context of perceived social support and symptom distress among vulnerable youth, revealing an absence of significant reciprocal associations. The stable nature of perceived social support from caregivers compared to support from significant others was highlighted. The study design, hypotheses, and target analyses were preregistered under
... More than a dozen meta-analyses of social support studies with diverse samples of children, adolescents, and adults show that both perceived and received support are related to attenuated negative psychological health and enhanced psychological well-being (Dunst, 2022a). In meta-analyses of both perceived and received social support, the sizes of effect are almost always larger for perceived compared to received social support (e.g., Chu et al., 2010;Prati & Pietrantoni, 2010;Schiller et al., 2021). ...
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Background. Family social support from informal and formal social network members provides parents and other primary caregivers the time and psychological energy to carry out child-rearing responsibilities. Objective. Conduct a meta-analysis of family social support studies to evaluate the associations between informal and formal family social support and parent and family general health, depression, stress, and well-being. Method. Studies that used the Family Support Scale to measure informal and formal family support which included one or more scales measuring parents' and other primary caregivers' health and well-being were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. The correlations between measures were used as the sizes of effect for the relationships between informal and formal family social support and four different health-related outcomes. Twenty-three studies including 26 independent samples of study participants (N = 2929) were included in the meta-analysis. Results. Informal family social support was related to all four outcome measures and formal family social support was related to 3 of the 4 outcome measures. The sizes of effect for the associations between measures were larger for informal compared to formal family social support. The relationships between both types of family social support and the outcome measures were also moderated by several child and parent background variables. Conclusion. Results showed that both informal and formal family social support were related to less negative and more positive parent and family psychological health and well-being.
... Critical indicators of adolescent mental and behavioral health include perceived social support, PSMU, PA, and MWB (Khan et al., 2021;Jakobsen et al., 2022;Maenhout et al., 2020). Different social support sources significantly influence adolescent mental health (Chu, Saucier & Hafner, 2010;Herrde & Hemphill, 2018;Brooks et al., 2015), with social support associated with positive mental health indicators like hope, meaningfulness, and subjective well-being (Jakobsen et al., 2022). In contrast, inadequate social support may detrimentally impact mental well-being and increase the likelihood of PSMU (Walsh et al., 2020) and sedentary behaviors (Jusiené et al., 2022;Hu et al., 2021). ...
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Background Extensive research has established the intricate links between diverse social support sources and vital adolescent health indicators, such as mental wellbeing (MWB), problematic social media use (PSMU), and physical activity (PA). However, existing studies have not explored these interrelationships within a unified model or examined the moderating effects of gender and socio-economic status (SES). Methods This cross-sectional study employed a representative Danish sample of 2.034 adolescents, aged 13 and 15 years. A Multi-group Structural Equation Model (SEM) and covariance-based comparisons analysis utilized items from Multidimensional Scales of Perceived Social Support, The Warwick–Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale, Social Media Disorder Scale, and measures of PA duration and frequency. Results The associations between MWB-Teacher Support and MWB-Classmate Support were stronger in low SES adolescents than those with mid-high SES. Notably, the PSMU-Family Support negative association was more pronounced among girls, while PSMU-Friend Support’s negative relationship was stronger among boys. The PA-Family Support positive relationship was more robust in boys, while the PA-Teacher Support positive association was stronger among low-mid SES adolescents than those in high SES. The positive correlation between PA and MWB was stronger among boys and mid-low SES adolescents. Conclusions Strategies designed to enhance family and school support, considering gender and SES, could effectively promote MWB and deter behavioural issues like PSMU and sedentary behaviours in adolescents.
... In turn, as reported by Yu and Shek (15) in their longitudinal study, internet addiction would explain worse outcomes in adolescents' life satisfaction, which is in keeping with what is reported in the present work, as internet addiction would explain 3.7% of the variance in life satisfaction. Our second result is consistent with previous research indicating that cognitive and problem-focused coping strategies have been found to mitigate the negative impact of pandemic-related stressors on Western adolescents' life satisfaction (42) and serve as protective factors against emotional maladjustment for Eastern adolescents (56). ...
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Introduction: During the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescents had to deal with a range of mental health problems that has increased social media addiction levels with adverse effects on life satisfaction. Previous studies have explored coping mechanisms to deal with this addiction problem, but did not consider the need to simultaneously cope with different dimensions. Therefore, our study aimed to examine the moderating effect of various coping mechanisms on the relationship between social media addiction and adolescent life satisfaction. Methods: Self-report questionnaires were applied to 1290 secondary school students (age mean = 16.03, SD = 1.27, range: 14 to 19; and 57% female). An exploratory and a confirmatory factor analysis were performed to determine the factor structure of the Brief-Cope 28 scale. Then, a descriptive and correlational analysis of the variables and a multiple linear regression analysis was performed. Results: We found that the social media addiction risk was negatively associated with life satisfaction, adaptive strategies were positively correlated to life satisfaction, and maladaptive strategies were negatively correlated to it. Also, a moderation model was evaluated in which four stress management strategies, namely acceptance and perspective-taking, seeking socio-emotional support, active coping, and maladaptive strategies all conditioned the relationship between social media addiction risk and life satisfaction after controlling for demographic variables and the specific strategies of using comedy, religion and substance use. Results indicate additive and multiplicative effects of management strategies for stressful situations in the studied relationship. Seeking socio-emotional support and active coping were positively related to life satisfaction and maladaptive strategies were negatively associated with it. Multiplicative effects indicate that the relationship between the social media addiction risk and life satisfaction depends only on the acceptance and perspective taking that adolescents report. When adolescents reported having low or average levels of acceptance and perspective taking, there was a negative correlation with general life satisfaction, a connection that grew markedly stronger. In contrast, no connection between social media addiction and life satisfaction was detected for adolescents who report higher levels of acceptance and perspective-taking. Discussion: Abuse of social media and the use of maladaptive stress coping strategies were risk factors that decreased life satisfaction among adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
... The beneficial impact of social support on youth's overall well-being, regardless of victimization status, is well documented. A meta-analysis of studies focused on youth found influences on self-concept, health (e.g., exercise, healthy habits), social adjustment (e.g., popularity, cooperativeness), conduct (e.g., misbehavior, delinquency), psychological adjustment (e.g., depression, anxiety, happiness), and academic achievement (Chu et al., 2010). Within the context of resilience research, the possible buffering effect of social support has been studied among youth who have been victimized. ...
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Purpose: This study examines the relationship between social support and victimization of Latino youth over time, utilizing the stress prevention and support deterioration models. Methods: To address the research questions we utilized data from Waves 1 and 2 (n = 574) of the Dating Violence among Latino Adolescents (DAVILA) study, a national bilingual phone survey of self-identified Latino youth and their caregiver. Cross-lagged panel modeling was used to assess the fit of the two theoretical models to observed patterns of covariance among the victimization and social support variables specified. Results: Results show that victimization at Wave 1 was positively and strongly related to victimization at Wave 2 and social support at Wave 1 was positively and moderately associated with social support at Wave 2. As hypothesized, higher levels of victimization at Wave 1 were significantly related to decreases in social support at Wave 2 (β = -.15). Wave 1 social support was not significantly related to victimization at Wave 2. Conclusions: We did not find support for the stress prevention model but did find support for the support deterioration model. Teens who were victimized tended to have lower levels of subsequent social support, highlighting the need to equip peers, family, and significant others to adequately respond to victimization disclosures.
L’objectif de cet article est de déterminer les principaux facteurs affectant la demande des consommateurs et par conséquent les business models (BM) des PME du secteur du bien-être en France, après la crise sanitaire de la Covid-19. Nous nous concentrons spécifiquement sur les instituts de soins, beauté et massage. La démarche suivie est qualitative. À partir d’entretiens semi-structurés avec des propriétaires/managers de ces établissements, ainsi que des focus groups avec des clients, nous identifier les obstacles socio-économiques à l’utilisation des services proposés. Notre étude révèle l’importance de la diversification et de l’utilisation accrue de la technologie pour améliorer l’expérience client et maintenir un avantage concurrentiel.
This study aims to determine the effect of perceived social support on psychological well-being in students who are preparing a thesis at Bandung Islamic University. The study used a quantitative approach with the causality method and used simple random sampling. The research subjects were male and female students who were preparing a thesis at the Islamic University of Bandung totaling 247 people, with ages from 21 to 25 years. Data analysis using simple linear regression analysis and descriptive statistical analysis. Data collection was carried out using the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPPS) measuring instrument from Zimet (1988) adapted by Laksmita et al., (2020) for perceived social support variables and using the Ryff Scale of Psychological Well-Being which was adapted by Rachmayani and Ramdhani (2014) for psychological well-being variables. The results of data analysis state that there is a positive linear relationship and a significant influence between perceived social support on psychological well-being with a contribution value of 30.7% and with a significant value of 0.00 < from alpha of 0.05. This means that the higher the perceived social support that is useful and positive for students, the more significant it will be in improving their psychological well-being. Abstrak. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui pengaruh perceived social support terhadap psychological well-being pada mahasiswa yang sedang menyusun skripsi di Universitas Islam Bandung. Penelitian menggunakan pendekatan kuantitatif dengan metode kausalitas dan menggunakan simple random sampling. Subjek penelitian adalah mahasiswa laki-laki dan perempuan yang sedang menyusun skripsi di Universitas Islam Bandung yang berjumlah 247 orang, dengan usia dari 21 sampai 25 tahun. Analisis data menggunakan analisis regresi linear sederhana dan analisis statistic deskriptif. Pengumpulan data dilakukan menggunakan alat ukur Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPPS) dari Zimet (1988) yang diadaptasi oleh Laksmita et al., (2020) untuk variabel perceived social support dan menggunakan Ryff Scale of Psychological Well-Being yang telah diadaptasi oleh Rachmayani dan Ramdhani (2014) untuk variabel psychological well-being. Hasil analisis data menyatakan adanya hubungan linear yang positif dan pengaruh signifikan antara perceived social support terhadap psychological well-being dengan nilai kontribusi sebesar 30,7% dan dengan nilai signifikan.0,00 < dari alpha sebesar 0,05. Artinya, semakin tinggi dukungan sosial yang dirasakan yang berguna dan positif pada mahasiswa maka secara signifikan akan berpengaruh meningkatkan psychological well-being nya.
While much is known about the processes by which peer influences can lead to maladaptive outcomes, much less is known about how peers can enhance and protect the mental health of adolescents. Peer support can come from friendships, romantic relationships, and the broader peer network. This entry considers evidence for the promotive and protective effects of peer support on adolescent well‐being. There is now substantial evidence to suggest that peers can enhance adolescent well‐being and psychosocial adjustment, and effectively support adolescents through difficult times. How such support interacts with support from family or school deserves further attention. The entry considers evidence on interventions that capitalize on the value of peer support as a means of promoting positive health outcomes. While there are some initial promising findings, more robust evidence is needed. Interventions must also consider the potential risks and benefits to all involved.
Providing validated instruments in higher education on social support perceived by students allows research and improvement of university policies aimed at developing the psychosocial well-being of future social workers. The objective of the study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the social provisions scale (SPS) in a sample of uniiversity students of social work in Spain. The results obtained through structural equation modeling confirmed the structure of six correlated factors and adequate levels of reliability; and factorial invariance analysis indicates that the SPS remains stable up to the level of metric invariance for the sex variable.
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It is generally assumed that social support has a favorable impact on the maintenance of health and on coping with illness. However, results are inconsistent and even conflicting. This is partly due to conceptual and methodological shortcomings. In order to overcome these problems and to guide further research, we present a taxonomy of social relationships and a causal process model. Social integration, cognitive social support and behavioral social support are distinguished and related to personality, stress, coping and the pathogenic process. In the causal model we propose that social support is depicted both as mediating the effects of stress on illness as well as directly affecting illness. A meta analysis was conducted that related social support and social integration to morbidity and mortality based on eighty empirical studies, including more than 60,000 subjects. Data subsets revealed disparate patterns of results that give rise to intriguing theoretical questions. Evidently, social support operates in complex ways. Several causal models are specified which represent alternative pathways of social support processes. Where social support was associated with less illness, a direct effect model was proposed. In cases where more support was seemingly paradoxically associated with illness it is assumed that a mobilization of support has taken place. In conclusion, some recent research examples that help illustrate future directions untangling the social support-illness relationship are presented.
Adolescents' supportive relationships with parents, teachers, and peers were examined in relation to motivation at school (school- and class-related interest, academic goal orientations, and social goal pursuit). On the basis of 167 sixth-grade students, relations of perceived support from parents, teachers, and peers to student motivation differed depending on the source of support and motivational outcome: Peer support was a positive predictor of prosocial goal pursuit, teacher support was a positive predictor of both types of interest and of social responsibility goal pursuit, and parent support was a positive predictor of school-related interest and goal orientations. Perceived support from parents and peers also was related to interest in school indirectly by way of negative relations with emotional distress. Pursuit of social responsibility goals and school- and class-related interest in 6th grade partly explained positive relations between social support in 6th grade and classroom grades 1 year later Continued research on the social origins of classroom motivation in early adolescence is needed.
Rosenthan's (1979) concept of fail-safeN has thus far been applied to probability levels exclusively. This note introduces a fail-safeN for effect size.
This research concerns the distinction between stress associated with major life events and that associated with "daily hassles" as well as the possible moderating influences of social support. We analyzed data from 159 school-age children, 6 and 9 years old, and their mothers to examine the relationship between stress and behavior symptoms. We considered a subsample of 35 of these families to be a high stress group because of marital separation or divorce within the 4-year period prior to the study. The findings documented the expected relationships between behavior symptoms and stress, whether operationalized as life events or hassles. Undesirable life events showed the strongest relationship to behavior symptoms. Multiple-regression models with R2 = .32 (p < .0001) included significant main effects for stress, social support, and some interactions between them. Evidence was provided for a moderating or buffering influence of social support on the relationship between stress and illness. However, the model including interaction effects did not account for appreciably more variance, suggesting that the simpler, more parsimonious main effects conceptualization was at least as useful, if not more so.
We devised a self-report Survey of Children's Social Support (SOCSS) to assess three potential aspects of social support in elementary school age children: the frequency of supportive behaviors available from the child's support network (Scale of Available Behaviors, or SAB); the child's subjective appraisals of family, teacher, and peer support (APP); and the size of the child's social support network (NET). With a sample of 361 third through fifth graders, test-retest and internal consistency reliabilities were acceptable. Moderate correlations existed between SAB and APP. However, neither of these two measures was related to NET. In addition, significant relations between the SOCSS and other indices of social support and self-esteem provided evidence for the validity of the SOCSS.