Limited research has analyzed how culture might influence the utilization of social support. To address this deficiency, the present study investigated preferences for social support among East-Asian, Hispanic, and White participants. In this set of studies, a comprehensive social support taxonomy was constructed in order to better identify and conceptualize the various support subtypes found in the literature. Based on the taxonomy, a questionnaire measure for preferences of different types of social support was developed. Participants were asked to rate how helpful they would find each supportive action made by a friend or family member on a seven-point Likert scale. Based on the responses of 516 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers, a five-factor solution for an 18-item scale emerged from a factor analysis. The social support subscales supported by the factor analysis were emotional, tangible, self-referencing, reappraisal, and distraction. The questionnaire was used to assess similarities and differences among East-Asian, Hispanic, and White participants in terms of preferences for providing and receiving social support. Based on the results of 299 college-age students, an analysis of variance on individually standardized ("ipsatized") responses was conducted in order to eliminate the positioning effect of culture. A main effect of ethnicity (p=.05) and an interaction between ethnicity and sex (p=.02) were significant for the preference of tangible social support. A main effect of ethnicity (p=.04) and an interaction between ethnicity and sex (p=.05) were significant for the preference of reappraisal social support. Clinical implications of our research findings are discussed.
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- Cultural Variability in Social Support Preferences
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