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Interpersonal Unit 3: Social Support

by: Bennett Notetaker

Interpersonal Unit 3: Social Support COM 225

Marketplace > University at Buffalo > Communication > COM 225 > Interpersonal Unit 3 Social Support
Bennett Notetaker

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About this Document

Talks about how to give proper social support and things you shouldn't do when giving social support.
Interpersonal Communication
Scott Murszewski
Class Notes
Social support
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Bennett Notetaker on Friday April 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to COM 225 at University at Buffalo taught by Scott Murszewski in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 28 views. For similar materials see Interpersonal Communication in Communication at University at Buffalo.


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Date Created: 04/08/16
Interpersonal Unit 3: Social Support 04/04/2016 ▯ What is social support?  The ways in which individual well-being and coping with stressors are enhanced by involvement in social networks, the perceived availability of help and acceptance by others, and/or the exchange of support in interactions between people o Asking friends for relationship advice o Friends/family supporting your academic goals  Theoretical Traditions: o Four major traditions in social support o Sociological Tradition  Relationships between social ties and psychological well-being  Oldest one (Durkheim) came up with it  Work in this tradition linked social network/relations to outcomes such as suicide, social disorganizations, mental health, and behavioral problems  Social Integration- social network participation as measured by diversity of relationships one participated in and involvement in a range of social activities or divers range of social relationships appears more important to health outcomes than does number of people in one’s network  The more types of relationships people have the more social integration o Cognitive Tradition  John Cassel & Sidney Cobb both argued that people with strong social ties were protected from the potential pathogenic effects of stressful events  Then Cohen and Wills review 40 SS articles, the data suggest that the perception available support is more important to health and adjustment than the actual receipt of support  Perceiving that you have lots of resources for social support was enough to help you deal with your stress instead of truly receiving it  Provides stress-buffering affect: you’ll be able to handle and deal with stressors more o Interpersonal Process Traditions  Research on the dynamics involved in the expression and receipt of social support  Attempts to develop detailed classification schemes of support provision and responses to received support  Cutrona and Russell provide a review of various SS typologies  Also explores how support is elicited and provided  Studying it between people, how is the exchange happening  3 primary categories of interpersonal support  Emotional- help managing emotions (empathy)  Informational- information that affects coping  Instrumental- tangible aid (giving and receiving of social support) o The Intervention Tradition  First approach- teach care givers social support skills (tell them how to be more affective)  Second approach- creation of support groups (AA)  Third approach- creation of one-on-one mentoring and coaching programs (sponsors, life coach)  Main Effects versus Buffer Effects: o Main Effects- social support leads to behaviors and psychological outcomes that are beneficial to health o Buffer Effects- social support interacts with people’s perceptions of stressors and their abilities to cope with them (smaller benefits to receiving social support) o *know the differences between them  Advice: o Something we are quick to give when someone has a problem o Labeled as both one of the most helpful and most unhelpful forms of attempted support  Sometimes people just want someone to listen to them and don’t want someone’s advice  If you aren’t asked there are other components of social support to give  Emotional contagion  Empathy  Our own emotional state  Relational burdens  Important to first read cues as to whether or not advice is actually being sought  Optimal Matching: o Social support is effective when it meets the coping needs of the situation at hand  Giving $10 because your friend got dumped is bad optimal support (not helpful) but giving money when they need gas would be more helpful o Social support’s effectiveness also may depend on who is giving it  HIV support groups: you’d want to seek someone who has HIV if you just realized you contracted it  Providing Emotional Support: o Keeps us healthy o Predicator of satisfaction in close relationships o Predictor of job satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty to an organization o Most of us don’t do it well ▯ Hierarchy of Comforting Strategy Sophistication:  Good comforting messages are all about how you address the other person’s feelings  Burleson (1984) was the first to devise the comforting message hierarchy and explains that the effectiveness of comforting messages can be judged by three attributes. (don’t need to memorize the name Burleson) o He asserts that comforting messages are effective to the extent they explicitly:  Acknowledge  Legitimate- telling the other person it’s okay to feel the way they do  Elaborate- asking questions that also show that you were listening to them o Performing the above bullets projects a greater degree of involvement with distressed others and their problems. Evaluatively neutral/positive (generally describe and explicate feelings and the situations producing the feelings), cognitively oriented explanation of feelings(sensitive explication of these feelings may help distressed person process through and gain insight on their situation)  Don’ts o Don’t chastise or ridicule someone for feeling the way they do (“get over it already”) o Don’t ignore the emotions or talk around the emotions (“that sucks”)  Need to be explicit about the emotions at hand to be most effective o Don’t say “I know how you feel”  False empathy or even genuine empathy are often poorly received  You can demonstrate possible connection, without claiming you know what’s going on in their head o Don’t try to distract them or take their mind off the problem until they’ve processed through the issue and feel ready to move on to something else o ▯ ▯


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