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Abstract or Description

Previous research on social support and depressive symptoms has found a relation between decreases in social support and increases in depressive symptoms. However, it is not clear whether support leads to decreases in depressive symptoms (support alleviation) or depressive symptoms leads to a decrease in support provision (support erosion). The current study explored this causal relation by having pairs of same‐sex friends complete measures of support requests, receipt, provision, and other support variables within that friendship three times over a six‐week period. We also explored whether the relation depended on gender, possible mechanisms behind the relation, and conducted exploratory analysis on relationship quality. Results showed no evidence for support alleviation but evidence for support erosion occurring for females. Provider burden limitedly explains this finding. Overall relationship quality does not seem to be influenced by depression. Future research should address communal strength in conjunction with the depressive symptom and social support relation.


Advisor: Vicki Helgeson

Department of Psychology

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