When is received social support related to perceived support and well-being? When it is needed

Karen L. Melrose, Gordon D.A. Brown, Alex M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

How do perceptions of being supported relate to the amount of social support received? Received and perceived support have generally been found to be only moderately related. Previous research has however focused on the amount of support received regardless of whether it was needed. We hypothesized that a measure of support received when needed would predict perceived support and well-being better than would an unqualified measure of received support. Study 1 found that correlations between received support and perceived support measures were, on average, twice as high when received support was measured as the proportion of times support was received when needed (average r = .54) than when it was measured as the number of times support was received (average r = .28). Similar results were found for correlations between received support and mental health which rose from r = .04 to r = .31 when need for support was considered. Study 2 replicated the strong relationship between support received when needed and both perceived support and mental health. Received support measures should be adapted to take the need for support into consideration in future investigation of these relationships. Social support interventions may only be beneficial if the recipient's support needs are not already being met.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume77
Early online date13 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Health
  • Mental health
  • Perceived social support
  • Received social support
  • Well-being

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