While the positive functions of social network interactions in ameliorating the effects of life stress are widely documented and acknowledged, a growing body of research investigations has demonstrated that social relationships can concurrently be a source of stress and that actions intended to be supportive may instead be experienced as psychologically disturbing. Data from a study of the social support experiences of gay men diagnosed with AIDS were examined to determine the contribution to the men's depressive mood of positive and negative network interactions (n = 83). Although the results are consistent with the social support literature regarding the beneficial effect of positive network interactions for seriously-ill individuals, the findings also indicate that negative illness-related network interactions are associated with decreases in depressive mood, as indicated by scores on the Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression Scale (CES-D). The findings also demonstrate the additive effects of positive and negative network interactions and clearly point out the value of investigating the complexity and multiple functions of social interactions.
- gay men
- social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science