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ERIC Number: ED314801
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Nov
Pages: 30
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Working towards a Processual Definition of Social Support.
Waltman, Patricia Amason
A study examined socially supportive messages to determine what situational constraints affect the types of support persons perceive as demanded by the situation. Data were gathered from 77 students enrolled in communication classes at a small private southwestern university. Subjects, provided with descriptions of four hypothetical situations involving distressed friends experiencing task-oriented conflicts and relational problems, were asked to record the two most important issues to address in order to provide support. Results revealed that recognized differences in distressing situations produced the need for specific types of support. Greater emphasis was placed on instrumental than affective concerns in response to task-oriented conflicts, while both instrumental and affective concerns were emphasized for situations involving relational problems. Findings also suggest that for task-oriented conflicts, persons assume that the reduction of the stressor (problem) will result in the reduction of the affective states of the distressed other. Concerning relational problems, findings suggest that persons define the situation as one in which two goals need to be accomplished: assisting the other in solving the problem and acknowledging the distressed state or feelings of the other. Continued investigations into the process of providing support and on identifying aspects of supportive situations appear to be called for. (Two tables of data are included; one appendix containing stimulus materials and 26 references are attached.) (KEH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A