UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social support and social strain among husbands and wives in stepfamilies : a multilevel analysis Capreol, Martha Jean


In response to recent calls in the literature for a more contextual analysis of the influence of social support processes (e.g., Rook, 1997; Sarason, Sarason, & Pierce, 1992), the current study explores the relationships of spousal support, spousal strain, and well-being among husbands and wives, both within the same day and across days. In addition, the moderating roles of interpersonal and situational contexts within which support and strain are provided are examined. One hundred and sixty-six husbands and wives in stepfamilies were interviewed and then asked to complete a structured diary twice daily for a week. Participants reported their stress, supportive and problematic spousal interactions, mood, and dyadic adjustment. A multi-level hierarchical model was used to estimate average within-person relations among the daily variables, while at the same time controlling for the influence of between-person differences in these variables. Lack of daily spousal support and the presence of spousal strain were both significantly associated with increased negative affect across the same day, although the magnitude of the effect of spousal strain was greater. However, these associations were mitigated for participants who perceived their marriages to be well-adjusted. In addition, daily stressors were directly associated with increased same day negative affect, however daily stressors did not interact with support or strain to predict distress. In contrast, the pattern of the findings for the prediction of negative affect across days was quite different. Of the daily variables, only spousal support, but not spousal strain or daily hassles, was a significant direct predictor of negative affect the next morning. Furthermore, spousal support and spousal strain were found to have a multiplicative association with negative affect the next day. Specifically, the presence of spousal strain attenuated the beneficial impact of spousal support on mood. Further, dyadic adjustment was a direct predictor of decreased negative affect the next day. The findings from this study suggest an interplay among social support, social strain, and well-being. In particular, the importance of considering differential influences over time for support and strain, as well as the moderating roles of proximal and distal relationship factors, was highlighted.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.

Usage Statistics