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UBC Theses and Dissertations

We cope together : predictors and consequences of social support mobilization Pow, Jessica Leanne


Perceptions of support availability are important for well-being. However, little is known about support mobilization. Questions remain about when support is likely to be sought and provided and why support receipt is not always linked to improvements in well-being. This research examined support mobilization in three intensive longitudinal studies. Study 1 categorized appraisals of threat during stressful situations based on whether they were agentic (self-focused) or communal (other-focused). A model linking stressors, appraisals of agentic and communal threat, and support mobilization was examined. Consistent with expectations, increases in agentic threat were associated with increases in support seeking and decreases in support provision. In contrast, increases in communal threat were associated with increases in support seeking and provision. Study 2 extended results of Study 1 by examining whether the associations between threats and support are moderated by extraversion and agreeableness, personality dimensions previously implicated in the support process. At times when participants experienced increases in agentic threat, those higher in extraversion increased their support seeking and decreased their support provision to a greater extent than those lower in extraversion. At times when participants experienced increases in communal threat, those higher in agreeableness increased their support seeking and provision to a greater extent than those lower in agreeableness. Study 3 examined the associations between pain and several types of emotional support mobilization from partners to individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Those with RA provided reports on pain mornings and evenings across one week. Both partners also reported three types of emotional support: esteem, solicitous, and negative from the partners to the person with RA. Pain tended to increase across the day following increases in negative support receipt and solicitous support provision. Pain tended to decrease across the day when partners reported increased levels of esteem support provision. This research adds to the growing body of literature on the support mobilization process, building knowledge on factors that might lead people to seek and provide support during stress. This research also unpacks different types of emotional support and sheds light on the types that may be helpful in chronic pain contexts.

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