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Abstract or Description

This study investigates the relationship between social support and stress in newlywed couples. The main purpose of this study is to compare two models of social support: 1) the stress‐buffering model and 2) the main effects model in close relationships. The stress‐ buffering model states that social support interacts with stress such that the effects of social support will be seen only when a person is under high stress. The main effects model indicates that social support will keep people healthy and feeling good in all life circumstances, not only when under high stress. Participants were 229 newlywed couples who discussed current life stressors in the lab while being videotaped. Immediate and long‐term outcomes of the support discussions were assessed. Results were mixed in that there was some evidence for stress‐buffering for husbands but not for wives (for long‐term outcomes), but also some results that were counter to predictions (for immediate outcomes). Implications and future research directions are discussed.


Advisor: Brooke Feeney

Department of Psychology