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ERIC Number: ED525811
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 127
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-7316-1
Linguistic Correlates of Social Support
Suppes, Alexandra
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University
The perception that support is available is central to a person's well being. Nonetheless, naturalistic studies and experimental manipulations of support visibility have uncovered that receiving specific acts of support can entail an emotional cost and that a supportive act is most effective when it is accomplished outside of the recipient's awareness. In this thesis, I explored what is different about support that is made visible or invisible to the recipient and to what extent these differences in the provider's and recipient's language use can potentially explain the negative effects of support receipt. In reviewing the literature on support communication, I highlighted the ways in which seeking and receiving support can threaten recipients' valued identities, and potentially lead recipients to appraisal themselves as in distress. I then elaborated on how differential language use has been used to explain variability in coping and relationship satisfaction, and how language analysis can potentially inform research on the provision of visible and invisible support. I next described the collection of data from two support discussion tasks in 41 heterosexual, cohabitating couples, and how these data were used to assess visible and invisible support. In two separate chapters, I described two techniques for coding the support discussions and linked the resulting codes to variation in the provision of visible and invisible support. I found that the provision of invisible support was associated with (1) reduced discussion of anxious mood, and to some extent, negative mood, and (2) reduced discussion of provider's positive attributes and increased discussion of provider's negative attributes. On the other hand, I found that visible support was associated with (1) increased discussion of recipient's positive attributions, and (2) increased use of concrete language by the recipient. Taken together, these findings paint a picture of how invisible support prevents recipients from making appraisals of themselves as being in distress: Providers of invisible support take attention away from recipients anxious moods, share with recipients their own challenges, and by doing so normalize the experience of needing support. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A