Adolescents' perceptions of social support: The role of esteem enhancing and esteem threatening relationships

Jerome L. Short, Irwin N. Sandler, Mark W. Roosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two studies investigated the relations among self-esteem enhancing and self-esteem threatening relationships, life stress, perceived social support, and psychological symptoms through the use of new measures of esteem enhancing and esteem threatening relationships. The studies included samples of 257 college students and 208 high school students. Participants selected the most helpful family member and friend and rated how their relationships with each of these persons enhanced and/or threatened their self-esteem in the previous four weeks. The esteem enhancement and threat measures were internally consistent and appeared to measure valid constructs that were separate from each other. Esteem threat was associated with psychological symptoms independent of stress, social support, and demographic variables cross-sectionally. Both esteem enhancement and esteem threat made independent contributions to predicting global self-esteem cross-sectionally and longitudinally, after controlling for initial levels of global self-esteem. These findings suggest that esteem enhancement and esteem threat processes may help explain the differential effects of social support on adolescents' psychological adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-416
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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