Victims' Perceptions of Social Support: What Is Helpful From Whom?

Gayle A. Dakof, Shelley E. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

477 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although research has demonstrated that social interactions influence psychological well-being, little is known about what specific actions victims of stressful life events experience as helpful or unhelpful. Wortman and Dunkel-Schetter (1979) previously suggested that victims frequently experience rejection, withdrawal, and communication problems with those close to them. To address these issues, 55 cancer patients were interviewed concerning the specific actions they found to be helpful or unhelpful from several potential support providers: spouse, other family members, friends, acquaintances, others with cancer, physicians, and nurses. The data indicated that the Wortman and Dunkel-Schetter victimization model applied better to interactions with friends and acquaintances than to interactions with close family members. In addition, support was found to be partially dependent on the source: Particular actions were perceived to be helpful from some but not other network members. Implications for theory and research on social support are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-89
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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