Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social support is most effective when provided invisibly

Date:
November 30, 2010
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
New research shows how social support benefits are maximized when provided "invisibly" -- that is without the support recipient being aware that they are receiving it.

New research by University of Minnesota psychologists shows how social support benefits are maximized when provided "invisibly" -- that is without the support recipient being aware that they are receiving it.

The study, "Getting in Under the Radar: A Dyadic View of Invisible Support," is published in the December issue of the journal Psychological Science.

In the study, graduate student Maryhope Howland and professor Jeffry Simpson suggest there may be something unique about the emotional support behaviors that result in recipients being less aware of receiving support.

"While previous research has frequently relied solely on the perceptions of support recipients, these findings are notable in that they reflect the behavior of bothparties in a support exchange," Howland said. "They also mark a significant step forward in understanding how and when social support in couples is effective."

Receiving social support such as advice or encouragement is typically thought of as positive, a generous act by one person yielding benefits for another in a time of need. Effective support should make someone feel better and more competent, it is generally acknowledged. However, what is supposedly considered "support" may make someone feel vulnerable, anxious, or ineffective in the face of a stressor, Howland and Simpson found.

In the U of M study, 85 couples engaged in a videotaped support interaction in the lab. Support recipients were instructed to discuss something they'd like to change about themselves with their partners, who thus had the opportunity to provide support. After the interaction, support recipients reported how much support they had received (or were aware of receiving), and trained observers then watched the videotapes and coded the interactions to gauge the extent to which any support provided was invisible or visible.

Recipients whose partners provided more invisible emotional support such as reassurance or expressions of concern, but believed they had received less emotional support, experienced greater declines in anger and anxiety. This was also true for invisible practical support such as advice or direct offers of assistance. Additionally, in the case of invisible practical support, recipients experienced increases in self-efficacy.

Romantic partners are often a primary source of support, and understanding how the support process works between the two partners is likely to inform counseling and clinical approaches as well as future research in this area, according to the study's authors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maryhope Howland and Jeffry Simpson. Getting in Under the Radar: A Dyadic View of Invisible Support. Psychological Science, December 2010 DOI: 10.1177/0956797610388817

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Social support is most effective when provided invisibly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130111318.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2010, November 30). Social support is most effective when provided invisibly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130111318.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Social support is most effective when provided invisibly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101130111318.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

Raw: Wildfire Tears Through Washington

AP (July 18, 2014) A large wildfire continued to gain steam through north-central Washington Friday. The blaze is already responsible for the destruction of at least 100 homes. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins