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Exploring the role of different forms of support linked to adolescent romantic relationships

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Receiving support from intimate others is important to individual well-being across the lifespan. However, the role of support in adolescent romantic relationships has not been investigated extensively. Using two studies, this dissertation utilized data from N = 111

Receiving support from intimate others is important to individual well-being across the lifespan. However, the role of support in adolescent romantic relationships has not been investigated extensively. Using two studies, this dissertation utilized data from N = 111 adolescent couples collected as part of the Adolescents, Schools, Peers, and Interpersonal Relationships (ASPIRE) to investigate the implications of support for adolescents’ relationship quality, and positive behavioral adjustment. The first study expanded on existing research by investigating whether support given in response to a partner’s experience of a stressful event, and gauged from the perspective of the support recipient, was associated with the quality of adolescents’ romantic relationships. The study, further investigated whether the association between support and relationship quality changed depending on stress levels experienced due to the stressful event. Results from the dyadic process multilevel model showed that support receipt was associated with increased relationship quality on the same day and that this association was moderated by stress. Results imply that support processes engaged in by adolescents may operate in a similar manner as they do for adults. Implications for the research literature are discussed.

The second study examined the role of parental support in adolescents’ romantic relationships. Although, research indicates parents continue to play an important role in the socialization of their children during the adolescent years, very little is known about the role of parenting practices in the domain of adolescent romantic relationships. Study two used longitudinal data to investigate the influence of parental support of adolescent romantic relationships and parental trust on adolescents’ disclosure of information about romantic relationships and adolescent problem behaviors. Results of the Actor Partner Interdependence Model indicated that parental support of romantic relationships but not parental trust was associated with increases in adolescent romantic relationship disclosure at time one, and decreases in problem behaviors at time two. Furthermore, important sex differences emerged. Sex differences and implications for parents of adolescents are discussed.

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Date Created
2016

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Effects of message planning on support message effectiveness, nonverbal behaviors, and supporter stress and anxiety

Description

Emotional support messages can benefit recipients; however, verbal and nonverbal aspects of these messages can vary in effectiveness, and the process of communicating support can be stressful to some supporters. One potential behavior that may yield more effective support messages

Emotional support messages can benefit recipients; however, verbal and nonverbal aspects of these messages can vary in effectiveness, and the process of communicating support can be stressful to some supporters. One potential behavior that may yield more effective support messages for recipients while reducing anxiety and stress for supporters is message planning. Thus, planning theory is used to test whether planning influences message effectiveness, nonverbal delivery of messages, self-reported anxiety, and physiological stress markers. Additionally, an individual’s trait-level reticence and prior support experiences are predicted to moderate the effects of message planning. One hundred laboratory participants were assigned to either a planning condition or writing distraction task and completed a series of self-report and physiological measures before, during, and after recording an emotional support message to a friend who had hypothetically been diagnosed with a serious form of cancer. Subsequently, a sample of one hundred cancer patients viewed the laboratory participants’ videos to provide message effectiveness ratings and four trained coders provided data on nonverbal behaviors from these recorded messages. Findings showed planning leads to more effective messages; however, it also leads to supporters engaging in success bias and inflation bias. Planning also increased vocal fluency, but not other nonverbal behaviors. Likewise, planning attenuated heart rate reactivity, but not other physiological markers. In general, experience and reticence did not moderate these main effects. Theoretical, practical, clinical, pedagogical, and methodological implications are discussed.

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Date Created
2018

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Couples coping with a childs chronic illness: effects of dyadic coping on stress and well-being

Description

The prevalence of chronic illness among children in the United States is on the rise (CDC, 2014). Having a child with a chronic illness can be a substantial source of stress for a couple, including physical, emotional, and financial demands

The prevalence of chronic illness among children in the United States is on the rise (CDC, 2014). Having a child with a chronic illness can be a substantial source of stress for a couple, including physical, emotional, and financial demands of caregiving as well as difficult decision-making regarding the child’s health (Mayo Clinic, 2015). Coping with such stressors can have a negative effect on the couple’s well-being, and, if not managed within the relationship, can lead to increased negative outcomes for both partners. Partners can, however, learn to cope with stress by engaging in the coping process together with dyadic coping (DC). Couples can engage in positive (i.e., supportive emotion-focused, supportive problem-focused, and delegated) or negative forms of DC. DC has been shown to mitigate stress for couples, while increasing reports of individual well-being (IWB) and relational well-being (RWB), but it has not been examined in the context of couples with a child with a chronic illness.

To bridge this gap, the present study examined how couples cope with general stress as well as stress associated with their child’s diagnosis of a chronic illness (CI-related stress) and whether positive DC and negative DC moderate association between stress (general stress and CI-related stress) and well-being (IWB and RWB). Consistent with hypotheses, there were significant main effects of both types of stress (general and CI-related stress) on both types of well-being (IWB and RWB). Contrary to the hypotheses that DC (positive DC and negative DC) would moderate the associations between both types of stress and both types of well-being, only one significant interaction was found between CI-related stress and negative DC on IWB. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Date Created
2016

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Effect of Social Support on Health Empowerment and Perceived Well-Being in Adults Impacted By Cancer: A Program Evaluation

Description

Background: Cancer impacts the lives of millions of patients, families and caregivers annually
leading to chronic stress, a sense of powerlessness, and decreased autonomy. Social support may improve health empowerment and lead to increased perception of well-being.

Purpose: The purpose of

Background: Cancer impacts the lives of millions of patients, families and caregivers annually
leading to chronic stress, a sense of powerlessness, and decreased autonomy. Social support may improve health empowerment and lead to increased perception of well-being.

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of social support provided by a cancer support agency on health empowerment and perceived well-being in adults impacted by cancer.

Conceptual Framework: The Health Empowerment Theory maintains that perceived wellbeing is the desired outcome; mediated by health empowerment through social support, personal growth, and purposeful participation in active goal attainment.

Methods: Twelve adults impacted by cancer agreed to complete online questionnaires at
baseline and at 12 weeks after beginning participation in social support programs provided by a cancer support agency.
Instruments included: Patient Empowerment Scale, The Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (SWEMWBS), and The Office of National Statistics (ONS) Subjective Well-Being Questions.

Results: Four participants completed pre and post surveys. An increase was seen in
empowerment scores (pre M = 1.78, SD = 0.35 and post M = 3.05, SD = 0.42). There was no
increase in perceived well-being: SWEMWBS pre (M= 3.71, SD= 0.76), post (M= 3.57, SD=
0.65); ONS pre (M= 7.69, SD= 1.36), post (M= 6.59, SD= 1.52).

Implications: The data showed an increase in health empowerment scores after utilizing social support programs, lending support to the agency’s support strategies. It is recommended that the measures be included in surveys routinely conducted by the agency to continue to assess the impact of programming on health empowerment, and perceived well-being.

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Created

Date Created
2017-05-03